How To Dispose of Non-recyclable Waste?

Not all waste can be recycled. Some items in your trash are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable, which means they cannot naturally decompose in the soil.

Hence, they must be disposed of correctly and safely so they don’t adversely affect the environment. It is your responsibility as a citizen to get rid of your waste in the right way.

Since global warming is progressing fast, it is essential that we take the necessary steps to slow it down and eventually eliminate its threat.

First, let’s take a look at what qualifies as non-recyclable waste.

Which Items in Your Waste Are Non-Recyclable?

Following are some of the items in your waste that qualify as non-recyclable waste and not be sent for recycling:

  • Plastic cups and cutlery
  • Cardboard
  • Ceramics
  • Mirrors
  • Plastic Cartons
  • Snack packets
  • Cling film
  • Bubble wrap
  • Styrofoam

Disposing Non-Recyclable Waste

Every state has its policies. Your non-recyclable waste must go in the right place to ensure you are following the guidelines of your community or local area.

There are different types of things that qualify as non-recyclable waste. Each may be disposed of differently so it’s better to do a thorough research individually.

That said, here are some ways to dispose of non-recyclable waste

Check With Your Recycling Service

Firstly, always check your local recycling service to ensure there is nothing in your waste that can be recycled. Sometimes there could be items that can be recycled. For instance, some plastic items are recyclable.

Some recycling centers also have better technology, and they might take in more waste than regular recycling centers. Hence, it is always a good idea to confirm if your waste is recyclable or not.

Contact a Commercial Waste Collection Service

Another way to dispose of your non-recyclable waste is to contact a commercial waste collection service.

These services use non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste to produce energy. For this process, the non-recyclable waste is burned to turn it into fuel.

A steam turbine is powered by the steam that is produced by burning the waste. The turbine helps power some facilities in the region.

However, you must note that burning the waste produces carbon emissions that are hazardous to the environment.

Still, there are a few waste collection services that control the emissions and ensure the air is purified and clean prior to releasing it into the atmosphere.

This makes it possible for the entire process to be safer and less expensive than landfill.

Use for DIY Project

A productive way to dispose of non-recyclable waste is to find an alternate use for it. Many people like to engage in DIY projects for their homes or their kids’ schools.

There are many ideas on the internet to use disposable plastic items like cutlery to create new things.

For instance, you could make a working clock with your kids and use disposable cutlery to make needles out of them.

Children especially enjoy using household items to create art. This is a great activity for them to spend time productively.

Not only will your kids enjoy the activities, but you will also have found a way to reuse your non-recyclable waste.

Find an Alternate Use

DIY projects aren’t the only way to reuse your non-recyclable waste. As long as you are using items that can be reused in a safe environment, you are good to find a new purpose for them. Here are some ideas you can try with your non-recyclable waste:

Water Bottle Caps: Poke holes in the caps. Fill a disposable plastic bottle with water and screw on the lid. Now, you can use this water bottle as a means to water your plants.

This little device can be used to spritz water on small plants or to clean leaves.

Packing Peanuts: These little marshmallow look-alikes are non-recyclable. You can store them in a spare container and use them to protect your shipment when you are mailing something.

Of course, we do not encourage hoarding. So another alternative is to use it as stuffing for cushions or a bean bag.

Plastic Shower Curtain: You may be wondering what you could possibly do with a plastic shower curtain. You can find plenty of uses for it.

For instance, when camping, you could keep it with you and spread it on a picnic table. You could also lay it down on the sand when visiting the beach.

That said, there are a few things you should never reuse. Medical waste, such as plastic syringes and prescription containers, should never be reused. 

In fact, they are known as biohazards. You should speak to a doctor or any other medical professional to understand how you can get rid of medical waste safely.

Reduce and reuse are two terms often associated with being environmentally conscious. Hence, before disposing your non-recyclable material, consider how to use these items alternately.

Send It Back to the Manufacturer

Every organization has a social responsibility to ensure they take measures against the many environmental problems that exist because of industrialization.

Hence, many manufacturers recommend that their customers return the products so they may either reuse them in production or dispose them safely.

This is definitely better than throwing your non-recyclable waste and causing harm to the environment.

This is specially useful when discarding electronics, also known as e-waste. Best Buy is one of the biggest recyclers of e-waste, and they accept all kinds of electronics and home appliances.

Donate it to Goodwill

At times, you may want to dispose items that you no longer use but are still in working condition. In such cases, you can donate it to a charitable organization like Goodwill.

These organizations can find a home for your non-recyclable items so they can be used until worn out.

Often, there are things that we take for granted, and we may get rid of them or replace them too soon without entirely consuming them. It is better to give it to someone who can use it well.

For instance, you could have extra cleaning products or aerosol cans of spray paints or deodorants that you no longer use and wish to dispose.

Under such circumstances, you can donate it to a charity and do this good deed to help someone in need.

Give It Away to a Friend

Obviously, you cannot donate something that requires repair or is half used. That would be wrong.

Even charitable organizations would never accept anything that needs fixing or products that are half used.

For such items, you can see if someone from your network needs them. It is never a bad idea to help out a friend who is broke.

They could be having financial struggles because of a new business, lost job, or paying off loans, and your little help can go a long way for them.

An unusual item that is non-recyclable is bakeware or oven-safe dishes. Suppose you want to dispose one, you could bake something in the dish and give it to a friend who recently moved houses. Put a sticky note on the lid that says, “No need to return.”

You could also give it to someone looking for the item on online platforms like Craigslist or Facebook.

What Happens If You Send Non-recyclable Waste to a Recycling Center?

Most recycling centers have single-stream recycling, and sorting is done manually to ensure there are no products that should not be recycled.

Finding too many non-recyclable items may decrease the efficiency and take longer to go through the entire process.

Additionally, a non-recyclable item may miss an employer’s eye due to human error and harm the machine.

In fact, lightweight materials, such as plastic shoppers, may get stuck and cause significant damage to the expensive machinery.

The presence of non-recyclable waste amongst recycling material may contaminate the whole lot. For instance, medical waste is highly hazardous and harmful to health.

Finding such contaminated waste in a pile of recyclable material will mean an entire lot is rejected because of unsanitary conditions, ultimately leading to loss.

Remember, recycling is good, but it doesn’t mean you can recycle everything. Recycling the wrong things can also harm our atmosphere.

Often, recyclable items are exported and sent across the sea to other countries. Getting rejected in the other country because of contamination or other issues means the recycling center has to bear the cost of returning the material.

The Bottom Line

We all have the responsibility to dispose our trash responsibly. There are plenty of ways to ensure you fulfill this duty to your planet.

Firstly, you should always look for a recycling label to ensure the item is non-recyclable. At times, some things do not carry such labels.

If you can’t find a recycling label, it is better to avoid dropping it in the recycling bin, even if you have the best intentions.

Disposing of non-recyclable waste in recycling bins can become a big problem for local recycling centers that are already low on funds.

It is better to act vigilant and reuse the items or give them away. If these options do not work, you can always return your non-recyclable waste to the manufacturer.

This way, you can be sure your waste is disposed safely.

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