Why your recycling doesn't always get recycled
The average American produces almost five pounds of waste every day. Here’s how to save yours from ending up in a landfill.
A plastic bag, a dirty pizza box, plastic utensils, paper napkins, and a soda can—a single takeout meal can feel like a game of recycling trivia.
Which items can be recycled? What kinds of plastic go in the trash? What if the container is greasy?
Recycling can be complicated, and the rules outlining how to do it vary from city to city, which might be one reason why only about 32 percent of our trash gets recycled.
Only about six percent of the plastic—everything from plastic bottles to IV drips—produced in the U.S. in 2021 was recycled, according to a Greenpeace report. Some plastic items are designed in ways that make them difficult to recycle or recyclers struggle to