How to get started with recycling

How to get started with recycling

When it comes to getting started with recycling, it all starts with small steps. First, it’s important to know what can be recycled. Once you know what can be recycled you can start with baby steps and recycle one category at a time until you get in the habit of recycling everything that can be recycled.

What items can be recycled?

If you look at things you use on a daily basis, you will notice that most of the things we use can be recycled. Here is a list of items that can be recycled:

Metal (all kinds)

  • metal cans (soup, pet food, empty aerosol cans, empty paint cans, etc.)
  • aluminum foil and foil products (wrap and trays)
  • metal caps and lids
  • household metal items (wire hangers, pots, tools, curtain rods, small appliances that are mostly metal, certain vehicle license plates, etc.)
  • bulky metal items (large metal items, such as furniture, cabinets, large mostly metal appliances, DOES NOT INCLUDE electronic devices banned from disposal)


  • glass bottles and jars ONLY

Plastic (rigid plastics)

  • plastic bottles, jugs, and jars
  • rigid plastic caps and lids
  • rigid plastic food containers (yogurt, deli, hummus, dairy tubs, cookie tray inserts, “clamshell” containers, other rigid plastic take-out containers)
  • rigid plastic non-food containers (such as “blister-pack” and “clamshell” consumer packaging, acetate boxes)
  • rigid plastic housewares (flower pots, mixing bowls, plastic appliances, etc.)
  • bulk rigid plastic (crates, buckets, pails, furniture, large toys, large appliances, etc.)

Note: Rigid plastic is any item that is mostly plastic resin—it is relatively inflexible and maintains its shape or form when bent.


  • Food and beverage cartons
  • Drink boxes
  • Aseptic packaging (holds beverages and food: juice, milk and non-dairy milk products, soup, etc.)


  • newspapers, magazines, catalogs, phone books, mixed paper
  • white and colored paper (lined, copier, computer; staples are ok)
  • mail and envelopes (any color; window envelopes are ok)
  • receipts
  • paper bags (handles ok)
  • wrapping paper
  • soft-cover books (phone books, paperbacks, comics, etc.; no spiral bindings) (schools should follow their school book recycling procedures)


  • cardboard egg cartons
  • cardboard trays
  • smooth cardboard (food and shoe boxes, tubes, file folders, cardboard from product packaging)
  • pizza boxes (remove and discard soiled liner; recycle little plastic supporter with rigid plastics)
  • paper cups (waxy lining ok if cups are empty and clean; recycle plastic lids with rigid plastics)
  • corrugated cardboard boxes (flattened and tied together with sturdy twine)

What is it important to recycle?

It is important to recycle because recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining, and processing raw materials all of which create substantial air and water pollution. As recycling saves energy it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change. For example, If we all took the time to recycle paper, we won’t need to take down more trees to make paper. The same goes for plastic bottles. If we recycle the plastic bottles we use, there is no need to make more bottles from raw materials. Used plastic bottles are broken down, melted, and re-molded into new plastic bottles or other plastic items.

Tips on recycling

When getting started with recycling its best to start with baby steps. To start, you are going to want a separate place to put recyclable items such as a bag or bin. Pick something that can be recycled like plastic bottles and make it a point each day to place them into that bag or bin that you have designated to store the recycled bottles. Do this for a week.

Once you have gotten the hand of recycling plastic bottles, expand that to other plastic items that can be recycled such as plastic bags, plastic cups, plastic food containers, and other recyclable plastic items. Do this for another week.

At this point, you should have built a habit of recycling plastics. Do this same routine for paper and glass items that can be recycled. By the end of 2-3 months, you will find yourself naturally recycling waste and it will be habitual.

What is Gaeta Green Environmental Services doing for the environment?

First a foremost, Gaeta has sold off their old fleet of trucks and purchased new eco-friendly trucks that have low emissions and meet or exceed EPA regulations.

We encourage our customers and community to recycle by promoting recycling via our social media platforms and through blogs like this. In addition, Gaeta also completed a solar panel installation project at their Staten Island headquarters to reduce their energy footprint.