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Surprising Things You CAN'T Recycle!

Home Builder with Emmer Development Corp.


Originally Posted on 2/1/2012 on www.emmergroupblog.com:


For it being January, Mother Nature’s been treating Gainesville pretty kindly with this mild weather in the 70’s. And while we’re not complaining, it’s pretty obvious that we could take a little more time to be appreciative of the mild hurricane season, the bright sunshine and the amount of great sports weather we’ve had during our “winter” months thus far.Recycling Bin with Cans and Plastic


We at Emmer love to give back in thanks, and one way to do this is to recycle. While there’s a huge effort here in our lovely city to follow the green road, you’d be surprised how many people throw away things that could easily be reused or chuck un-recyclable things in the green bins. So, while you can find tons of sources on things you can recycle, we’re going to fill you in on some things you cannot.


1)      Pizza Boxes: This may not be the biggest surprise for you, as it’s been going around for a while that the drippy cardboard can’t really be used again, but it’s the why that really matters here. Once recyclable products have been saturated with food stuffs, they become virtually useless and destined for the trash bin. This also includes products like juice boxes and aluminum foil, which is a big bummer.

2)      Wet Paper Products: The minute you accidentally spill your soda on the newspaper, it’s time to hit the trash. Once the fibers have changed from the absorption of the liquid, you’ve lost all recyclability. This list also includes paper towels and tissues- so no trying to recycle during cold and flu season!

3)      Bottle Caps: Yes, your water bottles can be recycled. However, only if you take off the lid of that bottle. That plastic has been used in a way where it’s now unusable and keeping it on the bottle adds more effort to the ones recycling. An exception? Dasani- they’ve made their entire bottles recyclable.

4)      Plastic Bags: This one even threw us for a loop! Believe it or not, those plastic bags you get from the grocery store, the clothing store, and pretty much every other store ARE NOT recyclable, primarily because they take too much time to sort and can be dangerous to rummage through. Instead, you can often take them to “bag depositories” or back to the store you got them from!


We got a lot of our information from this great article on EcoSalon, which can fill you in on some other surprising things you can’t recycle. While this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recycling your stuff, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re interested in learning more about the process, check out all the details our fair city has to tell at the City of Gainesville’s Recycling Page or, if you’re an out-of-towner, find out more about your own cities options through Earth911.com. Either way, happy green-ifying!


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Over 50 Years of Quality Construction! l  Emmer Development Corp.

Emmer Development Corporation2801 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, Florida 32608   

Phone: 352-376-2444 | Fax: 352-376-2260

Since its beginnings in the 50s and 60s, The Emmer Group has been responsible for more than 8,000 homes and apartments in more than 100 communities all over the state of Florida. Owned and operated by the father-daughter team of Phil Emmer and Lori Emmer McGriff, Emmer Group continues to be a success today with brand new single-family homes for sale in Gainesville, Florida and luxury condos available in beautiful Ormond-By-The-Sea, Florida. 

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Bud & Beth McKinney
Cary/Raleigh/Apex NC - The Team That Cares, RE/MAX United

I knew about the pizza boxes, but we should either be finding a way to do away with the use of plastic bags or another practical use for them since there are So many.

Feb 01, 2012 07:20 AM
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

This just blows me away.  If it's wet, who cares?  I won't understand it, but recyclers do!

Feb 01, 2012 07:22 AM
Emmer Group
Emmer Development Corp. - Gainesville, FL

@Bud & Beth: So true! They litter parking lot, parks, even driveways at this point. There has to be a better way to use these bags. They're already here- it's time to get creative! 

@Larry: Apparently, paper can only hold so much moisture, so if it gets wet, it won't hold enough of the chemicals during recycling to be of any use. It seems like such a waste, doesn't it! Maybe someday soon they'll come up with a better way to use this stuff! 

Thank you both for commenting and visiting the blog! Appreciate it! 

Feb 01, 2012 07:27 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Has to go somewhere. Hopefully not to the land fills. I guess I will still throw it in recycle and let the recyclers do their job.

Feb 01, 2012 07:35 AM
Emmer Group
Emmer Development Corp. - Gainesville, FL

@Bill Very true! Sadly, whatever can't be recycled usually DOES go to a landfill! It's tragic that we don't have more sustainable options! However, be careful when recycling things that are IN plastic bags- apparently, they won't even open them to get the recylable stuff out, they just chuck the whole thing. Who knew recycling was so particular! 

Thanks for commenting, though! We appreciate the visit! 

Feb 01, 2012 07:40 AM