Do's And Don'ts of Recycling: Common Misconceptions

We all know that recycling plays a huge role in keeping our planet clean and combating climate change, but it has to be done right!

“Recycling is still very real it’s still a great benefit to the environment,” says John Phillips from the West Hartford Department of Public Works. “It’s still one of the greatest contributors to climate change out there, but we are users and generators that make those materials have to do a better job at making sure our materials are having the opportunity to be recycled properly.”

Recycling is as important as ever with the Amazon effect and the increase in online shopping. As consumers, we’re receiving more boxes and packing. While the packaging might be recyclable, that doesn’t mean it's always acceptable in our big blue bins.

A recent study showed that nearly 20 percent of materials going into recycling facilities are contaminates. Materials that may seem recyclable, but really aren’t.

The biggest culprit? Plastic.

“We have loose plastic bags, but then we also have the big problem, that people are still bagging their recyclables,” according to Sherill Baldwin, of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “And if you hold up a bag of trash and a bag of recyclables, you’re not going to be able to tell the difference.”

But there are a number of items that often times mistaken for recyclable. So what goes in? And what stays out?

Quiz your recycling knowledge. (All photos in the quiz are from

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