Recycling: 3 Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know

After being suspended in August because of health and safety concerns, curbside recycling pickup is back in Baltimore. This is a huge accomplishment by Mayor Brandon Scott who made this a priority. Thanks to his persistent efforts, recyclables are now collected every week.

While we all know that recycling paper, plastics, metals, and glass conserves natural resources and reduces pollution, here are three things that might surprise you about recycling.

1. Bamboo Paper Is Superior to Regular Paper

Bamboo is milled into a pulp, which is fermented, washed, and pressed into a variety of paper products. Since the pulp is stronger than cotton, it doesn’t need bleaching. Also, since fermentation gets rid of impurities that could harbor bacteria, it makes for a sanitary product. Further, bamboo paper can be recycled repeatedly without losing any quality.

Bamboo paper is a sustainable, eco-friendly paper made from pulp. Although Asia has been using it for centuries, it’s only now catching on in the west. This type of paper is made from 100% natural materials and stronger than traditional papers.

Besides making great writing and printing paper, bamboo also makes great toilet paper. Although you’d think it would be scratchy and hard, bamboo toilet paper isn’t just softer than cotton, it’s also tougher than regular toilet paper. One simple way to get a regular supply is to sign up for a bamboo toilet paper subscription.

2. You Can Recycle Your Old Phone

After you get rid of your old phone, you probably wonder what to do with it since you can’t just toss it into your recycling bin. Often, it gets stuck in a desk drawer along with other random stuff and disappears from sight for years. A better alternative is to sell your old phone online on a marketplace like eBay or Gizmogo.

However, make sure your phone works properly and has enough storage space before selling it online.

You can also put an ad on Craig’s List. Here are some tips on how to sell it in person:

  • Take clear pictures of your phone from different angles.
  • Check that the phone has a charger and a battery for the buyer to test it.
  • Show all the accessories that came with your phone, like headphones and cases. 
  • Be honest about its condition in your online classified advertising. You can, for example, mention if it has a cracked screen that will need to be replaced.

3. Plastic Can Be Recycled

You’ve probably heard that plastic can’t be recycled because it’s not a biodegradable material. However, this caveat only applies to synthetic plastics, not bioplastics, which are made of things like starches, carbohydrates, vegetable oils, and bacteria.

Although it’s true that synthetic plastics can’t be broken back into coal, natural gas, or oil, they don’t have to be tossed into landfills because they can still be turned into yarn.

One example of this remarkable re-use of plastic is Repreve, the flagship fiber brand made of recycled materials by Unifi. This innovative company based in Greensboro, North Carolina, makes 300 million pounds of polyester and nylon yarn a year. The company developed this unique use for discarded plastic bottles after its executives asked themselves what they could do to be more innovative and more socially responsible as manufacturers.

How Returning to Recycling Is Revitalizing Baltimore

Recycling is one of the best ways to help the city. Its benefits include saving money, reducing waste, and protecting the environment. Additionally, it reduces pollution, which is beneficial to the health of everyone in Maryland’s largest city and economic hub.