Three of Rubicon’s waste diversion managers, Meredith Leahy, Ryan Cooper, and Chris Batterson, were recently quoted in Reader’s Digest on the topic of what are the nine most recyclable materials on the planet. Here’s what they had to say.
Magazines, newspapers, and office papers can usually be recycled but, not all paper products are recyclable. “Paper towels and napkins are not recyclable, typically due to too much contamination from food waste, oils, dirt, and other residues,” Meredith Leahy, waste diversion and circular solutions manager for Rubicon, says.
In the U.S. cities that have an organic collection program, food waste is a recyclable material. Food waste can also be reused and repurposed at home. Bruised fruits can be used to make preservatives or pies. Vegetable scraps can be used to make broth. Excess meat can be used for animal feed.
“Food can be recycled into energy, heat, fuel, and composted into a valuable soil amendment that creates healthy plants, prevents erosion, and combats drought. Renderers use meat, fat, and bone to make many useful products such as animal feed, soap, and fatty-acids. Used cooking oil from fried foods is also processed into glycerol and biodiesel for use as fuel and other products,” Ryan Cooper, Waste Diversion Manager and Organics Recycling Lead at Rubicon, says.
Concrete is another material that can be recycled and used repeatedly. “Concrete is made of a simple mix that doesn’t have anything added to it and is not treated with anything to prevent it from being reused,” says Chris Batterson, waste diversion manager, construction and demolition at Rubicon. When concrete is recycled it’s crushed into tiny particles and then pressed through a screen to remove impure particles. The final result is like-new clean concrete that can be used for new projects including paving for roads, driveways, and sidewalks.