OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Did you know that recycling one ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water and about 24 trees? Something as simple as having a dedicated bin helps make a large environmental impact.
Oakland Recycles is a partnership with the City of Oakland and CA Waste Solutions and Waste Management. In the video above, Cal Waste Solutions Community Outreach Manager Taj Reid discusses the proper way to recycle old and unused items, plus he explains crucial steps you might be missing.
"When you don't recycle right, you are contaminating the recycling that you place in those carts and bins," explains Reid. "That's where it starts, it starts at the household prior to the landfill."
Contamination occurs when people put trash, food, and liquid in their recycling bins. Only place empty, clean, and dry recyclables in your recycle bin.
Another tip: Look for recycling identifiers on containers to help guide you.
"One of the things that I use in practice, let's say for plastics, I always look at the bottom of my container and plastics to see if it has a chasing arrow," explained Reid. "That's a good identifier for those items that are plastic...papers, you know, paper towels, so forth, a lot of people think that they can just be discarded because it's paper. It's not always true."
For example, paper towels have fibers that can be too small for the recycling process. Reid suggests that you compost them instead.
"I believe that the most important part of my job is the role that I play in helping grow other legacies," said Reid. "We should all take a part in healing this planet."
He added, "Recycling right should be the only option."
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