The Art of Filling Your Cart: Keep 'Em Loose

posted 2/4/2015

You’ve perfected the art of rinsing out your cans, breaking down your boxes and getting your cart to the curb every other week before 7 a.m.

But have you perfected the art of filling your recycling cart?

Keep ‘Em Loose

These three words are the secret to ensuring your recycling efforts aren’t wasted. Plastic bags, of any kind, are NOT recyclable in your curbside cart. When recycling facility employees spot a plastic bag – even if it’s full of recyclables – it is pulled from the line and sent on to the landfill. The reason? Bags get wrapped in the equipment at the recycling facility, cause damage, and keep materials from getting properly sorted. Basically, bagged recyclables at the sorting facility are as good as trash.

Keep your recyclables loose in your cart, not contained in plastic bags, and you will make sure they escape the fate of the landfill. The beauty of single-stream recycling is that all accepted material can be tossed in the cart together so pre-sorting, bundling or bagging isn't necessary. Sure, materials will be sorted later at the facility, but until then, the more mixed up the better! 

Perfecting the Art of Filling Your Cart

Now that you know the secret to filling your cart is as easy as “Keeping ‘Em Loose,” consider a few of these other tips for filling your cart:

  • Conserve space by breaking down boxes.
  • Review what’s accepted to make sure you are filling your cart with the right items.
  • If wind and blowing recyclables are an issue, try to place heavier recyclables toward the top of the cart to weigh down loose papers. Make sure your lid is completely closed, and set your cart out in the morning, rather than the night before.

Remember to “Keep ‘Em Loose” and rest easy knowing you are making the most of your recycling efforts.