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What are some commonly used non-recyclable items?

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Quick Answer

Disposable diapers, mirrors, cookware and plastic toys are just a few examples of commonly used items that cannot be recycled. Several factors determine whether a recycling facility accepts a particular item. These factors include the shape of the item, how easy it is to recycle the item, and the level of demand for products made from the item.

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Full Answer

Some products are recyclable unless they are contaminated with other materials. Wrapping paper with glitter or foil coating is not recyclable due to the presence of foreign materials. Copy paper is recyclable, but thermal fax paper and carbon paper are not. Other non-recyclable paper items include blueprints, hardcover books, frozen-food boxes and binders.

Wood products containing chemicals or contaminants cannot be recycled. Treated wood contains chemicals, so it is non-recyclable. Untreated wood is non-recyclable if it is attached to window glass, drywall or other non-recyclable materials. Although many plastic products are recyclable, some food-storage containers are not recyclable because they are made with treated plastic. Vinyl, dishware, fiberglass and Formica are other examples of non-recyclable plastic products.

Some recycling centers accept furniture and mattresses, but others do not. It is often difficult to recycle these products because they contain a blend of materials. If a local recycling center does not accept mattresses, it is best to give a gently used mattress to a friend or donate it to a charity. Mattresses take up a lot of space in landfills, so donating them is a good way to reduce waste.

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