"Cats and dogs" are what we call the odds and ends of recyclable waste we find that most manufacturers generate. Here's what happens: you've got the big stuff in your waste program covered, for example, baling your OCC, densifying your EPS foam, and compacting your LDPE. You've got a commercial single-stream collection system in place. Maybe you've even gotten rid of the trash cans. There are always a few stragglers, often up to 20% of your waste stream, that can still be addressed.
Here are some of the common oddball bits of recyclable waste you can divert away from your waste stream to save money and achieve your waste goals:
- PET banding: PET banding is highly recyclable, but it's an often-overlooked item in waste diversion. Beacuse of its extreme light weight and unwieldy nature it may seem easier to toss in the trash. But it's even easier to collect for recycling right at the generation point. All you need is a 55-gallon plastic drum with a snug-fitting lid. Cut small holes in the lid, place it near where your crates and boxes are unpacked, and then just stuff the PET through those holes. It stays contained, neat and clean, and you'll be able to fit a significant amount of weight in that one simple drum.
- Bags: Poly-lined paper bags as well as pure poly bags can be recycled as well. It takes a little more work to do effectively, though. The trick to effective bag recycling is sorting by type and telling your recycler exactly what each one is. Here's how to do it:
- First, define all the different bags you're throwing out.
- Next, you have to figure out what the bags are made of. Obtain this information from your suppliers.
- As the bags are emptied or used, sort by type directly into gaylords or plastic bins.
- HDPE bottles: HDPE bottles are common liquid and spray dispensers and are usually marked with the symbol for plastic type 2. Collect these in gaylords or plastic bins.
- HDPE buckets: The simplest way to handle these is also the best; just tack them neatly one inside the other on pallets.
- HDPE and metal barrels: These are most easily dealt with if you invest in a low-cost drum crusher to turn them into pancakes. Then you can stack them on pallets, sorted by type: plastic or metal.
- Pallets: Don't ever throw your used pallets away. They take up valuable weight and room in your dumpsters and have value to your recycler. Click here to read more about how to handle recycling your pallets.
What are the "cats and dogs" around your office? Here are 11 often-missed opportunities for office recycling.