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Recycling finds

 I’ve been working for a small recycling hauler for about two years now. We collect all around Boston and the surrounding area. I have come across a lot of items that are not recyclable stashed away in our recycling containers; in the business we call these contaminants. Some are funny and some are gross. Many are interesting.

Here is short list of interesting things I’ve found in the recycling:

 Women’s shoes. So far I’ve found one and a half pairs of women’s shoes. Apparently women’s shoes appear discarded in recycling bins more than you think. My co-workers have also come across a few pairs in their day. In the past twenty five years of my company being in business collecting recycling, we have found about five pairs of women’s shoes, but no men’s shoes.

 Dirty Diapers. This really sucks, almost as bad as dog waste. The smell is just horrendous. I’ve seen one or two of these in my short and illustrious recycling career. Why are you dumping your kid’s stinky diaper in a recycling bin? Please, moms of the world, stop this.

 Bag of oyster crackers. They were a bit too salty for my tastes. I prefer the low sodium ones.

 Instructions on how to tie an ascot. About four months ago sitting on top of about four hundred pounds of paper a small instruction manual caught my eye. I had been searching for years for something that tells me step by step to form the perfect ascot. I have finally found ascot instructions. Since these instructions are printed on paper they can be recycled. I chose to reuse them instead.

 Dog droppings in a plastic bag (usually in a plastic bag). This is another common contaminant in my life of recycling collection. Bags of dog waste are usually found in recycling barrels that are left outside and people assume it’s a trashcan. It happens. To be honest not sure which is worst dog crap or dirty diapers, both are disgusting.

 My most recent notable find, a hospital gown also known as a Johnnie. Kind of gross. I didn’t look at it to closely, but it appeared to be clean of any blood or other matter. Just to clarify, you cannot recycle a hospital gown.

 I hope this brief post has answered some of your questions on what is and is not recyclable. Although if you are reading this website you're probably not the type of person to throw oyster crackers into a recycling bin.