Recycle Right

A panoramic shot of Waste Management's recycling facility in Azusa. Photo by Suzanne Guldimann
A panoramic shot of Waste Management’s recycling facility in Azusa. Photo by Suzanne Guldimann

With a new year comes fresh starts and new beginnings and the Waste Management GI Industries team invites its customers to make a commitment to the environment by adding “recycling right” to their list of resolutions this year.

On average, nearly one in four items placed in a recycling container is a contaminant that cannot be recycled. While many have good intentions, items like greasy pizza boxes, bottles, and cans that have not been fully emptied, garden hoses, ropes, textiles, household hazardous waste, scrap metal, as well as plastic bags often make their way to recycling containers, hindering the recycling process and creating safety hazards for employees.

“Thankfully, there is a lot that community members can do to ensure items have a chance at a second life and sticking to the basics of recycling is a great way to jump-start recycling efforts in 2019,” said Jason Roberts, director of recycling for Waste Management of Southern California. “By recycling the right things, the right way, we will continue to conserve earth’s precious natural resources for generations to come.”

Follow these strategies to make “recycling right” a success in 2019:

Recycling Right Basics

  • Recycle empty plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper and cardboard.
  • Keep food, liquids, and all non-recyclable items out of the recycling.
  • Always place recyclables loose inside containers.

Goals and Set-up

  • Whether you’re recycling at home, work, or school, take ownership to get others involved.
  • Review the “basics of recycling right,” then identify items that you did not recycle in the past. Examples include, shampoo and detergent bottles, bath tissue rolls, and office junk mail.
  • Place recycling containers in all common areas such as kitchen, bathroom, family game room, office meeting spaces, and break rooms.

Start and Sustain

  • Whether you’re a beginner or an avid recycler, ensure all your plastic bottles are fully emptied and items free of food or grease before being placed in the recycling container.
  • Keep the momentum going by visiting to learn the latest recycling tips to maximize your efforts.


About Waste Management—Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. It is also a leading developer, operator and owner of landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America.

For more information:


  1. Hi Mountain Messenger team,

    Loved Suzanne G.’s piece on recycling back in 2018 which “scooped” the bigger news outlets on the state of recycling. I was/am a wishful recycler and recognized I was doing my bit to muck up the process by trying to recycle anything plastic.

    Since then, several media outlets such as The Guardian, have revealed how bad the situation is with China and now other countries refusing our garbage, how only 9% of America’s trash is now recycled, and how most mixed plastics are not recycled but going into landfills or being burned. Further, it seems that each county/ waste management company also has its own methodologies.

    The recent Waste Management mailer insertion for our community indicated that plastics – cartons and containers – were still accepted. I’ve also gone on their website and it’s wide/vague but that seems improbable considering the crisis.

    I recognize that deconsumption and awareness of packaging when purchasing are crucial factors in reducing waste but I’d like to know exactly what we can recycle in terms of plastic via Waste Management.

    If there’s anyway MMN could tackle that, I’d be grateful!

    1. Thank you, Beth! Right now the recycling situation is bleak. When we toured Waste Management’s recycling facility last year we were told that plastic clam shell boxes have a much better chance of actually being recycled than bags and film, which inevitably go straight to the landfill. These materials can be recycled, and there is a push for grocery stores to accept film and bags back for recycling, but it can be hard to know which stores accept this material or where to drop it off. Look for a recycling update coming soon, and thank you for the excellent suggestion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.