Common Recycling Mistakes To Avoid

There are many rules and regulations when it comes to recycling, which can be very confusing at times. We have all made recycling mistakes a time or two (and that’s okay!), but it is easy to fix that with some good, old-fashioned education. Know the rules of recycling to not only reduce your amount of recycling mistake, but to also reduce the amount of recyclable items in landfills each year! Here is a list of common recycling mistakes and how to avoid them!


Not sorting properly

This is the #1 mistake that people make when recycling. Make sure to learn exactly what goes in your curbside recycling bin and what doesn’t. Pay attention to labels on plastics and textures of papers to avoid placing these items in the wrong bins!

Throwing dirty cardboard, paper, or containers in your bin

Dirty, greasy items like pizza boxes, can contaminate an entire batch of recycling so go ahead and leave them out of your recycling bin. Good news though- they can be composted instead!

Putting plastic grocery bags in your recycling

Recycling companies rarely ever accept these plastic bags. An easy fix to this mistake is to avoid using plastic bags all together. Many grocery stores have reusable shopping bags available to purchase for a drastically small amount. They last forever and make grocery shopping so easy, trust me!

Not recycling glossy paper

Just because a magazine looks pretty, glossy, and sturdy doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled! You can throw them in with other paper like materials in your recycling. Clean out clutter by recycling old magazines you haven’t picked up in a while!

Not taking advantage of your local recycling center

Unlike many curbside recycling companies, local recycling centers accept a wide array of objects and materials to be recycled that may not be accepted curbside. The Smyrna Recycling Center accepts glass, electronics, and even used cooking oil!


By: Meghan Lindstrom, published 6.28.2020

Meghan interned with Keep Smyrna Beautiful during the summer of 2019. She studied Mass Communication and English at Georgia College, while staying heavily involved in Greek life on campus as a Phi Mu. Meghan tries to keep her community green and clean by staying actively sustainable in her daily life. Her favorite ways to do this are utilizing reusable straws and shopping bags, as well as reusing containers for storage. Follow her in her sustainability journey to learn new tips and tricks on how to make the place we live in flourish once again.

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