(415) 457-9760 Mill Valley Refuse Service 112 Front Street San Rafael, CA 94901
Think of recycling like making an omelet: While it takes effort to carefully crack an egg and empty its shell, it’s much more trouble to pick small pieces of shell out of your breakfast after smashing the whole egg into the pan.
In order to successfully recycle items, different types of materials must be processed separately. Contamination occurs when materials get mixed together: plastic with food residue, paper with glass, cardboard with film wrap. Not only are contaminated materials more expensive to process, but loads of otherwise perfectly recyclable materials can end up in landfills because of contamination.
Today, the percentage of materials diverted away from local Bay Area landfills is around 75 percent. While California has long been a leader in the recycling movement, there are still improvements to be made. The first step is reducing the amount of materials we use and waste we generate. The next is lowering contamination rates in recyclables.
Sometimes good intentions, such as “wishful recycling” — when people put non-recyclable items into the recycle cart with the hope they can or will be recycled — can doom whole loads of materials to landfills, incur hefty costs and damage expensive machinery.
While it may seem like an inconvenience to clean out food containers or separate film wrap and polystyrene foam from cardboard packaging, it is impossible at the processing facility. That’s why everyone needs to do their part to ensure local recycling efforts are successful.
Have an item you’re not sure can be recycled? Don’t be a wishful recycler — when in doubt, check it out with the Mill Valley Refuse service “What Goes Where” tool. It will tell you exactly how to properly dispose of the item.