Shrinking Our Waste
The US recycles 34% of our waste, but we could be recycling 75%. It’ll take a combined effort of governments, corporations, communities, and individuals to raise recycling to the next level.

The Road to Recycling Contamination

Single-stream recycling, the simple act of dumping all of your recyclables into one bin, has become one of the most common recycling methods in the US. Public participation has increased due to the ease of single-stream bins, but the chances for contamination have skyrocketed. Reducing contamination is critical to making our recycling system effective and sustainable. Unfortunately, contamination can occur anywhere in the recycling journey: Broken glass and food or liquid residues can ruin paper bales. Likewise, the wrong types of plastic and food/liquid residues can spoil plastic bales. These items then become unrecyclable and likely to end up in landfills or incinerators, or they may be sold to countries with lower contamination standards.