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Should I Recycle This? How to Trash 9 Items

'Shiny' paper products
Verdict: Put them in the recycling bin.
Berry says one common misconception is that "shiny" or mixed-material paper products are off-limits for recycling -- for instance, glossy magazines or envelopes with a plastic viewing window. She says that those extraneous materials can be removed in the process, though.

Pizza boxes
Verdict: Throw them in the garbage.
One thing that can't be removed in the recycling process? Grease. That's why you generally shouldn't put a greasy pizza box in the paper recycling -- or any other paper product "contaminated" with food waste, including paper plates.

"The recycling process uses water, and everyone knows the old adage about oil and water not mixing," Berry says.

While we're not suggesting throwing away perfectly good cardboard and paper, putting greasy paper in the recycling bin will do more harm than good.

Glass bottle
Verdict: Get the deposit.
Most municipal recycling programs accept glass bottles. There's just one problem, Themelis says: Between when you put a bottle in the recycling bin and when it gets to the processing center, there are a lot of opportunities for it to get smashed to bits, which in turn means other recyclable materials in your bin get contaminated with broken glass.

The solution? Recycle it yourself at a local collection center, especially if you live in one of the 11 states that will give you a nickel or a dime for turning in empty bottles.

Single-use batteries
Verdict: Throw them in the garbage.
While most people aren't throwing batteries in the recycling bin, it might come as a surprise that they should be tossed in the trash. Aren't there dangerous chemicals in there that should be properly disposed of or recycled?

Not anymore. According to the Berry, single-use batteries (such as those you'd use to power a TV remote, for instance) no longer contain any kinds of environmental toxins. While there are some programs in place that let you mail in the batteries to be disassembled, she says the economic benefit is generally not great enough to justify the effort. Just toss them in the trash.

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