During the holidays, waste, recycle, and consume responsibly

November 21, 2017

To print this graphic, go to

The holidays can be wasteful and on the day after it can be difficult to sort through what’s trash, what’s recycling, and what shouldn’t be thrown away at all. With this in mind, we’ve been reading the helpful work done by our colleagues at the Green Philly blog, where they compiled a simple infographic explaining what can and can’t be recycled.

Here are some of the most important lessons we’ve learned from them and elsewhere:

These are things you cannot recycle:

  • Plastic bags
  • Straws
  • Light bulbs
  • Greasy boxes/paper
  • Takeout containers
  • Styrofoam
  • Napkins, tissue paper
  • Broken glass

Not only are these items non-recyclable, they can potentially be dangerous for workers, whose job is among the more deadly in the nation.

Julie Hancher, editor of the Green Philly blog, said the website created the guide to simplify sustainability, which she said often confuses her readers. 

“We started Green Philly in 2008 to help people live a more sustainable lifestyle, and something we noticed is that people have no idea what goes in the recycling bin, and how to get rid of objects that don’t go in the recycling bin,” she said.

The highly visual guide is intended to make recycling not just simpler to understand, but less scary.

“I think overall people want to do the right thing, but when they hear sustainability they get intimidated by it,” she said, adding that sustainability is much more approachable and affordable that people tend to think.

Finally, remember this: While recycling is more environmentally friendly than putting things in the trash, the best thing you can do for the environment is to produce less waste in the first place. Living sustainably can start by simply consuming more thoughtfully.

Go to the Green Philly blog for a printable version of the guide.

Eduard Saakashvili

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