6 Things You Should Know About Recyclable Lids
Recycling has become one of the most important ways to battle waste and climate change in our modern day. Recycling is massive worldwide, with nations like Austria and Germany leading the charge on more than 60% recycling rates. Materials like recyclable lids are some of the most common we deal with daily.
If you’ve been curious about recyclable lids and recycling jars with lids, we’re here to help. Read on for six important things about recyclable lids.
1. Attached or Separate?
One of the things that many of us ask ourselves is whether lids should remain attached. If you’re recycling a plastic bottle with a recyclable plastic cap, for example, does the lid stay on the bottle?
The answer is actually more complicated and goes on a case-by-case basis. Whether you remove a lid depends on the materials you are placing in your recycling bin.
For a glass container with a metal lid, such as a mason jar, you can leave the lid on. This is because glass goes through a crushing process, separating the lid out during the sorting process. It’s worth knowing that it’s better to remove them, as it makes the process easier and more efficient, but you won’t ruin anything by not separating the lid.
With plastic containers using plastic lids, though, you will need to separate the lids out. This is because the bottle and lid are two separate kinds of plastic. While both are recyclable, the process is different, meaning they go through separate processing.
When in doubt, remove the lid. Many places like grocery stores or waste plants will have a place to recycle lids. Some recyclable lids instead utilize a type of plastic that allows them to undergo recycling without any extra treatment.
2. Rarely Biodegradable
The question of biodegradability makes some wonder if they should bother recycling lids. Recycling jars with lids shouldn’t matter if it all breaks down naturally, right?
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Biodegrading can take centuries to take place. A plastic lid that enters into a dump today will disintegrate roughly four to five hundred years from now.
Some lids also aren’t biodegradable at all. Metal lids, for example, will not biodegrade because microorganisms do not consume them. Instead, they break down fully due to things like rust, which leaves metal fragments behind that can harm the environment.
If you have a recyclable lid, make sure that you’re recycling it. Leaving it in the trash creates waste that can take centuries to go away.
3. Reuse Before Recycling
The old jingle of “reduce, reuse, recycle” is in that specific order for a reason – recycling should be the last step to preventing waste. One of the best ways you can reduce waste is to reuse your lids as much as possible.
This is especially true for storage lids. You can repeatedly reuse plastic container lids, jar lids, and metal lids. It’s best to reuse these items for as long as you can to prevent waste.
When the time inevitably comes to get rid of them, make sure that you’re practicing proper recycling techniques. Separate them to their proper areas, recycle them in the proper locations, and try to keep your waste down as much as possible.
4. Never Recycle in a Bag
One thing that surprises many recyclers is that plastic shopping should not go into your home recycling. This is because they are made out of a different kind of plastic than most recyclable plastics. Instead, plastic bags should be brought to a local drop-off location.
This is important because many people recycle en masse, especially while cleaning. You should not place your recyclable lids in a plastic bag to recycle them all together. While this may seem inconvenient, it will make sure they can undergo processing properly.
5. Clean Before Recycling
We rarely clean things before we put them in the trash can, but recycling isn’t the same. In fact, some things are not recyclable solely because plants cannot clean them fully. This is the case with pizza boxes, which seem recyclable due to being made of cardboard, but are not recyclable because the grease and oil of a pizza cannot be separated out.
That means that it’s important to clean your recyclable lids, and all other recyclables, before putting them in the bin. Wash away food, grease, or any other mess. If you’re recycling jars with lids, make sure you wash them out fully first as well.
6. Never Wishcycle
One thing that has become problematic for recycling plants is the act of “wishcycling.” This is essentially an optimistic approach to recycling where people put things that may not be recyclable into the recycling bin. Some common wishcycling items include:
- Pizza boxes
- Styrofoam containers
- Plastic silverware
- Coffee pods
- Dirty food containers
- Plastic straws
- Disposable coffee cups
There are many more, but these are the most common. Some of the most common items are composite disposable items. This includes coffee cups that are made of paper but laminated with plastic to make them sturdier.
Unfortunately, these materials cannot be separated properly during the process due to being composited together. This makes these items non-recyclable.
If you aren’t certain your lid is recyclable, hold onto it until you can confirm it. If you can’t, it’s actually better to simply throw it away instead of trying to recycle it. Wishcycling can cause entire loads of recyclable items to need to be discarded.
Handling Recyclable Lids
Recyclable lids are one of the most commonly recycled items in our produced waste every year. With proper handling and recycling techniques, you can make sure that your lids are being properly put back into production. You’ll be helping to reduce waste and emissions as well as helping the environment.
If you have more questions about recycling jars with lids or recycling in general, you can contact us. You can also browse our website for more information.