In Whatcom County, we do a good job of separating glass, paper, cans and plastic containers for recycling before putting it out on the curb for pickup.
It's part of the reason why, unlike other parts of the state and country, most of those items are still being recycled instead of ending up in landfills because China has stopped accepting certain types of solid waste for recycling.
Northwest Recycling Inc., which processes all of the county's residential recycling, would like it to stay that way.
Here's a primer — and a reminder, if you need it — on what will be accepted for household recycling and what won't be, according to trash and recycling haulers, Sanitary Service Company Inc. and Nooksack Valley Disposal & Recycling, which provide service to most of Whatcom County.
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Beer/soda bottles and cans: Yes, for aluminum and tin cans (they're used for soups, beans and other food). Glass bottles and jars of all colors also will be accepted.
Cardboard: Yes. Boxes must be flattened.
Light bulbs: No. Dead LED and incandescent bulbs go into the trash. Any lights that contain mercury, such as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), must be recycled though they won't be picked up curbside. Go online to lightrecycle.org to find out where to take them.
Newspapers: Yes, including inserts and ads.
Greasy pizza box: No. If you don't want this and other paper soiled by food — think milk and juice containers — to go into landfills, you'll need to sign up for curbside food waste pickup. The items will then be turned into compost. Both trash haulers offer the service. If you don't have that extra service, food-soiled paper goes into the trash.
Plastic containers: Nooksack Valley accepts bottles only. SSC accepts them as well as jugs, caps, rings, cups, jars, tubs, pails, buckets and lids of all colors and numbers.
Plastic bags: No. Ditto for film wrap, also known as Saran or cling wrap. But if you really want to recycle your film plastic, you can drop it off yourself at SSC's Bellingham Recycle Center and Transfer Station at 1001 Roeder Ave., corner F Street and Roeder. You will have to pay a fee.
Scrap paper: Yes. This refers broadly to junk mail, magazines, catalogs, office paper, paper cartons, stationery, notebook paper and shoe boxes.
Styrofoam: No. It goes into the trash unless you find a way to reuse it.