Recycle, Reduce and Reuse

Let’s talk recycling. So let’s start with the basics.

Did you know that the chasing arrows you see on the side of items does not automatically mean it is recyclable? Sure, it usually appears near a label that states “please recycle” but not always.


In the case of plastics, it usually has a number in the center of the chasing arrows which tells you what kind of plastic the item is made of. Not all plastics can be recycled and a lot of curbside recycling pickups won’t take certain items. If you have added a no-go item they can label your whole pile contaminated and be forced to trash the whole pile. Most won’t take single use plastic bags because they get caught in the machinery.

What does your curbside accept?

Knowing what your curbside pickup will accept is important. Something like shredded paper is accepted but ONLY if it is in a clear plastic bag or a cardboard box. Some require you to keep the caps on certain bottles and others need them to removed. For plastics, most local guidelines will tell you what numbers are accepted.

That greasy pizza box is a no-no! | Photo by Pixabay on

Most take cans, glass, newspaper and certain cardboards are accepted.

A good resource is the Recycle Coach app , it can tell you what your area will accept. If you are in Tucson, the image attached is from the local site for residential recycling. Either way, it is worth checking to be sure you not adding items that really, will end up in a landfill after all. 

Not all items are recycled locally or in the country, so relations with other countries can become an issue for certain accepted items.

What is accepted in Tucson’s curbside, for more see:

In Tucson, there is talk about whether they will keep accepting glass and newspaper because it is expensive to handle and in an effort to save costs they are cutting back pick up service to twice a month vs weekly. (see this article about it: So the best way you can handle any waste is in reuse. If you see a glass jar that you can use rather than recycle, keep it.

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My name is Kate and I'm a world traveler looking to make a positive impact by reducing my waste and single plastic use.