7 Hard-to-Recycle Household Items You Should Know Of


Think you have recycling under your control? After all, you know what days to put out your recycling trash, and you carry a cloth shopping bag with you at all times…  Are you ready to take the next step? Knowing what materials in your household are hard to recycle can help you filter your consumption habits even further.
Here are items you may not have known are hard to recycle, and which you should watch out for.

  1. CDs and DVDs

compact disc

CDs and DVDs are created using a combination of various metals, plus plastics and dyes. Whenever you combine a variety of metals and materials, you have created a product that will be hard to recycle. Most recycling programs flatly refuse to accept CDs and DVDs, so they end up in landfills, the last stop for many hard-to-recycle products.

  1. Tires

According to a tire shredder manufacturer, Eco Green Equipment, “Disposal of these old tires has presented a serious challenge for more than half a century. Individual tires take up a lot of space and they aren’t made of biodegradable materials. Today, the majority of scrap tires are shredded and the rubber  is used for new purposes, but that wasn’t always the solution.”

  1. Diapers


The New York Times listed disposable diapers as one of the top three hard to recycle materials. Why? Disposable diapers consist of two parts: the plastic materials, plus the organic waste. Organizations that want to recycle the plastic must first separate the parts, making this a time-consuming task. The switch here involves using cloth diapers or separating the trash yourself.

  1. Pringles cartons

Would Pringles be Pringles if the chips were sold in a bag? Their iconic carton sets them apart from other chip brands. But that same carton additionally creates a waste disposal problem. Regular chip bags are typically made entirely of plastic. But the Pringles carton is made of layers of paper and plastic, which are difficult to separate.

  1. Pill packets, aka blister packs

Dispensing daily to monthly doses of medication, pill packs are made from a variety of materials. (Are you noticing a trend here?) Any product that combines more than one material will be difficult for recycling centers to recycle. While it might seem like a small thing, one Federal survey reported that 119 million Americans are on some form of prescription drugs.

  1. Juice boxes

Same problem as with Pringles. Juice boxes combine a variety of materials in its packaging to sell a product that doesn’t need to be refrigerated to stay fresh. Juice boxes are such a mainstay in American households, that it is hard to imagine a family never buying another juicebox again. But the alternatives are there. A pure plastic juice jug is a better alternative because plastic can be recycled, whereas a juicebox can’t.

  1. Fruit nets

Those mesh bags that fruit is sold in are some of the most non-friendly products that daily make their way into homes across the US. The problem that recycling centers often find with fruit nets is that they get tangled in their sorting equipment. But that aspect also makes it a hazard to birds and other wildlife.

In many of the cases mentioned above, a simple recycling project where you reuse the item in a different way can keep the material from a landfill. But for future purchases, see if you can buy better alternatives. For example, in the case of fruit nets, simply buying without the netting solves that recycling problem. And for items like pill packets, research to see if the pills are also sold in a bottle. With CDs and DVDs, all the music and movies one can wish for are available digitally. So choosing to purchase online will save you both time and money.

Collective decisions of individuals within a society have an impact over time. Everyone can help create a world where choosing the eco-friendly route becomes the norm.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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