It’s sustainability day #2, and as suspected we’re already running into some issues. For example, sometimes it’s really hard to get everyone in the same room for longer than 5 minutes. Honestly, it can be like wrangling cats. But luckily, everyone proved their commitment to keeping our shop green and we altered our normal time to an hour that would work for everyone.

When we all got together and went over what we had worked on from the previous meeting, we had already ran into some roadblocks. The first being, our garbage/recycling company totally ignored our requests. Womp womp. But it’s okay, because we have the power of the internet and can press on. So we took it upon ourselves to find the best recycling guidelines. Now of course, these guidelines vary city by city, but here’s what we found for our shop in Chicago:

First up, here’s what not to recycle – it’s important to pay attention to these common problem items, because often if you have even one or two of these items in your bin, the company will simply throw all your items away:

  • Plastic bags — not even to dispose of other recyclables (please don’t bag your recycling!)
  • Shredded paper — the little pieces get stuck to other items and can clog machines. Don’t do it!
  • Pizza boxes — the grease is the issue here. Either put the entire box in the garbage or tear off the greasy part before recycling.
  • Styrofoam — aka No. 6 plastic
  • Coffee cups
  • Electronics
  • Clothing
  • Potato chip and other greasy snack bags
  • Toys and other odd-shaped plastics like laundry baskets
  • Stringy things like garden hoses, cables/cords and Christmas tree lights that can wrap and jam up sorting equipment

Now, here’s what you can recycle, and keep in mind all must be clean and empty! You don’t have to scrub them, but a quick rinse will go a long way:

  • Bottles, glass or plastic – keep the lids on!
  • Mail, including envelopes with plastic windows
  • Cans, even empty aerosol cans
  • Boxes – only CLEAN boxes
  • Cartons
  • Jugs

Keep in mind, these are just the rules for Chicago – want to check out the rules of your city? A great site for reference is https://www.recyclebycity.com – we are also in the process of working out a great new option to reuse our ink – stay tuned!

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