Today, many people have become environmentally conscious. In fact, most people go to extra lengths to sort of recyclable items from the household generated waste. Unfortunately, what people may not know is that everything is not recyclable. Just tossing every item into the blue recyclable box not only creates more work for the sanitation department, but it can lead to contamination of other items.

If you are not sure about what the non recyclable items are, it is best to call the local sanitation department or speak to the person who picks up the garbage or recyclable items. When we try to recycle non recyclable items, it not only damages other items that could have been recycled, but it also makes it difficult for people who are sorting through this junk to filter out what’s usable and what’s not.

It is our responsibility to do recycling the right way because we owe it to our planet and our environment. Here is a list of nine non-recyclable items that every household should know:

1. Some Paper Items

People assume all paper can be recycled, but that is not accurate. Some paper products are actually non recyclable items. While many types of paper can be recycled, most hand towels, used napkins and tissues are too contaminated to be recycled.

Therefore, tissues that have been used to wipe hands or blow the nose do not go into the recycle bin. They are regular garbage. Also, paper boxes that contain frozen foods may also not be recycled as they are often contaminated. These frozen boxes have an outer coating that is not adequately broken down during the recycling process.

In addition, shredded paper should never be put into the recycling bin as it cannot be used and is very difficult to sort out.

2. Plastic Bottle Caps

These days, many beverages come with plastic bottle caps. Unfortunately, while the bottle may be recycled, the plastic caps are not recyclable. The reason is that the material used to make the bottle caps is not recyclable.

Also, if you have plastic bottles that need to be recycled, make sure you crush them before you put them in the recycle box. As it is, plastic is one of the biggest pollutants and is a major contributor to marine life pollution and climate change. Never put plastic bottle caps in the recycle bin.

3. Glass

Glass is recyclable, but homeowners should not place the broken glass into the recycle bin. The reason is that the jagged edges may injure the workers. Light bulbs, eyeglasses, mirrors, and microwave baking dishes are non recyclable items as well.

You should not worry if you are not the only one to be unaware of this, though. Indeed, there are very few people who are aware of this and tend to put anything and everything which is glass into their recycle bin.

4. Styrofoam

This item, in the form of cups, food containers, and packaging for food, is not biodegradable and should not be recycled. Also, while you’re at it, it might be a good idea to limit the use of styrofoam in your home as it is often a widespread cause of environmental pollution.

5. Plastic Bags

Again, this is a major pollutant in this already polluted environment. In general, the majority of plastic bags that are used for groceries, clothes, or other items are not recyclable. Many countries have now banned the use of plastic bags altogether, but even if they are not banned here, environmentally conscious people should simply avoid using plastic bags.

It is better to use grocery bags made of cloth (or even paper), which you can reuse anytime. However, if you do use plastic bags, please do not put these non recyclable items in the blue bin.

6. Wire Hangers

Almost every home has wire hangers lying around, but a large majority of these wire hangers cannot be recycled. If you need to hang your clothes, use wooden hangers, and avoid all plastic ones. If you do use plastic ones or wired, don’t recycle them. Just throw these non recyclable items in the garbage.

7. Fast Food Containers

In this day and age, many people order takeout and home delivery. All types of fast food, including pizza, ribs, wings, garlic bread, pasta, and salad, are consumed every day. All these foods come in a variety of containers.

Unfortunately, all these greasy containers soaked with cooking oil and spices are not meant to be recycled. Dumping these containers with recyclable items leads to greater contamination.

8. Utensils

Some people may not know that most ceramic utensils cannot be recycled once they break. In some cases, you may need to call the local recycling facility to determine if they accept broken ceramic mugs or plates. Some private recycling facilities may grind them up and use them differently.

9. Cartons

Homeowners should know that not all cartons that contain beverages are recyclable. Some of these cartons are non recyclable items. Some of these cartons have an external coating that does not permit recycling.