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Recycling is an essential part of protecting the environment against excessive waste and dangerous chemicals. Whether taking the recyclables to a local center or leaving them in a bin beside the trash for pickup, people tend to under-think what can and cannot be recycled. As a result, it’s not uncommon for stuff that cannot be recycled in the curbside pickup bin to be placed there anyway. This placement is a problem because not only is the bulk of recyclables hand-inspected at some point in the process, some materials, if recycled, can jam up the machines or are hazardous to people or the environment.

That said, just because something can’t be placed on the curb for recycling pickup doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled at all. There are plenty of items that can be recycled as long as they are taken to a properly designated collection site. Good examples of this are batteries, plastic bags, yard waste, and wood. All of these items can be recycled, but they cannot be placed outside for curbside pickup. These items can be dangerous to the environment or damage the recycling truck. Plastic bags will jam up the recycling sorting machines. Fortunately, large retailers and electronic stores usually have places to recycle items that are not allowed in curbside pick up bins. As for yard waste, in some areas, there are seasonal pickup schedules, generally in the autumn for leaf disposal. Also, there is often Christmas tree recycling in January.

Other items that can be recycled but not picked up at the curb are large pieces of plastic, like old playsets. Appliances can also be recycled, but are too complicated for curbside recycling. These items can be recycled at centers or sold for scrap. Otherwise, they’ll likely end up in a landfill. Hazardous materials, electronics, and old propane tanks also need to be recycled by specialists. If not properly handled, these items can pose a danger not just to the curbside pickup folks, but also the environment.

As for the stuff that can be put on the curb for pickup, like tuna cans and milk jugs, make sure they are rinsed out; otherwise, it won’t be recycled. Such containers can spread mold, mildew, and bacteria if not properly cleaned. Hence, they’re tossed aside during the sorting process. Here’s a straightforward rule: If your recycling bin smells, you are doing it wrong.

People curious about what can be recycled, but not picked up at the curb, should review their local recycling company’s website for a list of items they accept. Look at general recycling websites to find out what other things are recyclable and recommendations where they can be taken. Plenty of stuff can be recycled; just not all can be picked up from the curb.

Let McJunk haul away and recycle large items. McJunk will pick up your unwanted items and recycle, repurpose, or donate those items for you. Call for junk pickup in Durham at 919-850-4377.