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Recycling Raccoons say Know It Before You Throw It

The Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has deployed the Recycling Raccoon Squad to help Michigan recycle better, smarter, more efficiently and more adorably.

In fact, the Recycling Raccoon Squad is hoping to help Michigan reclaim its title as the greatest recycling state in the entire country. (It’s true, Michigan used to be No. 1.) How is a little, fur-covered raccoon squad going to do that? Easy. Racoons know garbage. They’ve been knocking over your garbage cans and rooting around in trash for hundreds of years. Indeed, raccoons know what you should be throwing out and what you should be recycling. A few of the squad’s basic rules are:

Rinse and Empty all plastics, glass and metal containers

Basically, if you recycle something that’s not rinsed and empty, you could get other items dirty on the way to the recycling center. This could ruin a whole truckload of recyclables – not just yours – with the whole load ending up in a landfill. The good news is recycling right is easy! Keep it simple. Keep it clean. Empty, rinse, recycle, repeat – for all plastic, glass and metal.

Break down and flatten all cardboard

Cardboard boxes that aren’t flat or broken down take up a lot of space in a recycling container and in the recycling collection truck. Bulky boxes create voids and air spaces, which ultimately increase the number of pickups required and lower the efficiency of the recycling center. So, the rule is: Break down and flatten all cardboard.

Don’t put your recyclables in plastic bags

Jamming all your recyclables into a plastic grocery bag or garbage bag is not cool. Most curbside recycling programs don’t accept plastic bags – whether by themselves or full of other recyclables. Even worse, the bags can get tangled in the machines at your local recycling center. So, be sure to put your recyclables loose in your cart or bin.

Learn more about the Recycling Raccoon Squad and help Michigan become a leader in recycling again. Join the squad today. You don't need to be a raccoon – you just need to sign up by going to recyclingraccoons.org.