What are the most common misconceptions about recycling?
  • That recycling should be free.
    • Many people believe that they should not be charged for recycling services because it is "the right thing to do" or because the waste companies are making a significant amount of money from selling recyclables. Although people are making the right choice when they recycle, their recyclables still need to be collected by special vehicles, processed at facilities that cost millions of dollars to build and transported to markets that are as far away as Asia. All of this requires equipment and labor, which translates into cost.
    • Some recyclables, such as aluminum, have a high enough market value to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of collection, processing and marketing. Other recyclables, such as paper and glass, are of such little value that they may actually cost the waste hauler more to collect, process and transport than they receive from selling the materials. When this occurs, the waste hauler needs to pass these costs on to their customers. The way to increase the market value for recyclables is to purchase products made of recycled-content materials.
  • The second common misconception is that if a package says "recyclable" or if it has the "chasing arrows" that it is recyclable in your community.
    • Not all materials that are "recyclable" are able to be recycled within Hamilton County. For example, there are several variations of PETE (Number 1) plastic, such as smallmouth bottles and food trays, yet only small mouth bottles and jugs can be recycled in Hamilton County. This is due to the lack of accessible markets available for PETE food trays. Thus, it is important to find out what materials can be recycled in Hamilton County and purchase products that can be recycled.
  • A third misconception is that "recyclable" and "recycled-content" mean the same thing.
    • "Recyclable" means that the material has the potential to be recycled, but is only recycled after it is collected, processed, marketed and remanufactured into a new product. Just because it has a recycling symbol, doesn't mean it is recyclable in our area. The Number inside the recycling symbol mean the kind of plastic resin; not the number of the plastic.
    • "Recycled-content" means the product is made out of recyclables that were remanufactured into new products. Thus, unless we are buying recycled-content materials, we are not truly recycling.

Show All Answers

1. What is Hamilton County R3Source and what do they do?
2. If an item is not on my acceptable items list, and I think it could be recycled, should I put in my recycling bin/cart?
3. What types of plastics can I recycle curbside? Why are some plastics like trays, and hinged (clamshell) containers not accepted in Hamilton County?
4. What is contamination and why is it bad for recycling?
5. Where do items go for recycling after the hauler has collected them?
6. What are the most common misconceptions about recycling?
7. Which Hamilton County communities are the most successful in their recycling efforts?
8. How can I reduce the amount of junk mail I receive?
9. Can I put yard trimmings, latex paint, household hazardous waste, or electronics in my curbside recycling bin/cart?
10. How can I compost my yard trimmings?
11. How can I recycle or properly dispose of latex paint?
12. How can I recycle or properly dispose of household hazardous waste?
13. How can I recycle or properly dispose of electronic equipment?
14. Since plastic bags, plastic film, etc. can't go in the recycling cart, where can I recycle plastic bags and plastic film?
15. What simple things could any consumer do to reduce the amount of waste put into landfills?