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Recycle it Right!

I have learned so much this past month about how to recycle right and also be a more conscious customer, thanks to #plasticfreejuly. During this period, our local newspaper published an article about how the recycling process is in our city. Now I realize that I was just putting in the recycling bin all the things I wished could be recycled. I was “wishcycling”!

Long story short, here in Baltimore City and County we have a recycling system called single stream, where just some materials are accepted. They should all be clean and dry, that means no leftover liquid of any kind or food residue.

Green Light

Items that are accepted in the single stream process and can go in the recycling bin to be picked up: plastic bottles, plastic containers, food and beverage cans, paper, flattened cardboard and paperboard, food and beverage cartons, glass bottles and glass containers.

Yellow Light

There are other items that can go in the recycling bin if we remove plastic or styrofoam packaging material from inside. Some examples are waxed cartons used for liquid such as juices, milk or soups and envelopes with plastic windows. Metal beverage and food containers.

Take to drop-off centers rigid plastics which include milk/soda crates, buckets, laundry baskets, lawn furniture, totes, plastic drums, coolers, flower pots, water bottles, pallets, pet carriers, shelving, closet organizers, and empty garbage/recycling bins. Visit the Baltimore City, and Baltimore County websites for locations.

Red Light

Unfortunately, there are certain items that are not recyclable in our area and should just go straight to trash.

Paper or cardboard covered with wax, plastic or food. Facial tissues, napkins, and paper towels. Gift wrap. Photo paper. Pots and pans. Dishes and cookware. Ceramics. Drinking glasses. Window glass. Mirrors. Crystal. “Clamshells” (such as salad bar, berry and bakery containers, as well as clear packaging for toys and batteries). Plastic cutlery (forks, knives, and spoons). Bubble wrap.


My “wishcycling” list is long! It would be great if more people were worried about the future of our planet. I wish more items could be picked up, or acceptable as recycling. It is important to know that mixing non-recyclable materials could contaminate a whole batch.

So now, what do we do with all of those other things that we wished were recyclable, and picked up from our homes? Well, items like baby food pouches, granola and energy bar wrappers, plastic bags, batteries, and others can be dropped off at some recycling center at stores.

Recycling Station at MOM’s Organic Market

Styrofoam is one item that I wasn’t able to find a single place that accepts them in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. However, if you live in Howard County, you can drop them off at the Alpha Ridge Landfill Residents’ Convenience Center. Next time we go grocery shopping we shouldn’t get pre-packed meat. I guess, next time we eat out, I will just bring a container in my purse to store the kids’ leftovers, or don’t even bothering taking the leftovers.

In my point of view, it would be easier to become a more conscient consumer and avoid consuming these materials. If we reduce the source of waste, before creating them, we won’t need to worry too much about recycling.

There are some habits that I have had for years and are easy enough to put in action today! I use cloth towels, napkins and rags instead of disposable paper products. I save and reuse bows, tissue paper, gift boxes to wrap gifts in the future {hello holiday season! If you know me, you now know you get your gift wrapped in last years gift bag}. We use reusable containers for the food in our packed lunch. I donate unwanted items like clothing, equipment, furniture, appliances {as a professional organizer I also help my clients do donate items, and I go to the donation center weekly}. We use cloth or mesh bags when shopping.

However, I think I can do better! There are some simple changes I am looking forward to starting in my home. I will not buy and/or use disposable cups, plates, and cutlery. I will get rechargeable batteries for the kids’ toys.

Baby steps and, one new habit at a time will take us forward on creating a better culture, and a better future for the generations to come.

Where to drop-off recycling

MOM’s Organic Market
Accept: juice pouches, cell phone, battery, shoes, baby food pouches, granola and energy wraps, eyeglasses, foil-lined snack bars, compost, coolers, and packing peanut.

Accept: plastic bags

Accept: lightbulbs, batteries, plastic bags, plastic containers and printer cartridges

Home Depot
Accept: lightbulb and batteries

Accept: printer cartridges and electronics (computers, phones, monitors, etc)

Planet Aid
Accept: clothes for recycling

Alpha Ridge Landfill Residents’ Convenience Center
Accept: Number 6 Clean Food Packaging, Transportation Packaging
(Howard County)

Please, if you live in the Baltimore area and know of a place, that is not listed above, to drop off recycling, leave as a message in the comments below or reach us through our social media and we will be happy to add them.


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Resource: Baltimore City Solid Waste  /  Baltimore County Collection Information

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2 responses to “Recycle it Right!”

  1. Sharon Stewart Avatar
    Sharon Stewart

    Di, baltimore has not recycled glass for 7 years. They say it is ok to leave in the bins, but they are not recycling which means they are thowing it away. I’m not sure if Howard Cty or any county in md is actually recycling glass. I think Frederick cty is because I did read an article that says glass is very hard on the equipment. I plan to separate my glass
    and try to bring to a recycler myself.

  2. Carl Green Avatar

    It’s great to learn that you can recycle plastic bottles and cardboard. My wife and I are wanting to become greener in our lives and we were wondering how we could recycle more items in our household. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should try recycling more plastic bottles and cardboard.

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Di Ter Avest

Professional organizer

Welcome to my blog where I share my lifestyle, home organization and productivity tips for busy moms.

Organize Yourself Healthy Book

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