Crucial tips to recycle right in Oakland

Knowing this information in advance is helpful when you're shopping for or buying goods which you can recycle, or reuse.

Video Transcript

- First of all, Happy Earth Day to both of you. And please help me out because I feel like I am the world's worst recycler. I've had so many years to practice. And yet, I swear, every time I go to the bins, I question, is this the right thing to do?

So let me just start by asking, is that common? And what can we do to try and help people out?

- I think you're not alone. A lot of people do get confused. And I think it's wonderful that you're asking yourself that question. That's the first step.

And in Oakland, like in every city, there's brochures that walk you through what is recyclable in your city. So familiarizing yourself with what you can put in your recycling cart, what you can put in your compost cart, what belongs in the trash, is a wonderful first step.

- All right, so Leticia, I guess this really starts before we even have anything to go into the trash or recycling bin, where we're just making choices about what to buy for our house.

- Well, I think it's important, as Rebecca said, to understand your program. So as you're buying stuff, you can then have a mindset of, will I be able to recycle this item? Is it packaged in a recyclable-- you know, in a type plastic that can go in my recycling bin? If it's in glass, you know, does it belong in the recycling bin? If it's packaged in, like, film plastic, then you have to understand is film plastic part of your recycling bin?

So I think going back to really understanding your city's program where you live to understand if there's a place for it when I'm done with it. What will I do with it?

- There's also a lot of things I feel like in the bathroom that people don't recycle, like shampoo bottles, conditioner bottles, sunscreen bottles, or lotion bottles if they're a rigid plastic. Another shape that we can recycle our tubs. So things like yogurt cups, salsa containers, hummus containers, that hard plastic tub that kind of looks like a bowl. And then the other shape that we can recycle are jugs. So things like a gallon milk container, your laundry detergent container when it's empty. And with plastic, it's really important, like with all rigid containers, that they're empty and dry.

- OK, so please be gentle on me. So you have this recycling game, which is really fun. I played level one already. So we're not going to do level one. That's for the basics.

We're going to graduate to level two and see how we do here. The Recycling Right Challenge. Anyone can play this at home.

OK, so the first one-- pavers. OK, now I already feel like I'm in over my head. I need to pick where it's going to go. I'm going to guess that pavers are for bulky pick up service. Is that right?

That's not right. At the transfer station?


OK, help me out. Why wouldn't it go to the bulky pick up?

- So there's a weight limit for our bulky pick up program. And if you put basically all the pavers from your backyard, it would be too heavy for a bulky crew to take. You should either get a roll off box for that material, or haul it directly to the transfer station.

- OK, now we're going to go to diapers. I hope this is not a trick question because I assume that diapers right into the trash. Please let me be right. Please let me be right. Ding, ding, ding. Stars.

Paper coffee cup. Paper coffee cup. I want to say that goes into compost.


Oh, look at him. Wipes. Trash? Trash?


Ah. Aha. Doing better than I thought.

Paper and envelopes. OK, I recycle these. But I've been told that I'm wrong about that in the past. Is it not recycling?


Oh, it's right.

- Yes, paper [INAUDIBLE].

- And a tire. OK, I know you just said that there's a weight limit. But is a tire too heavy? I'm going to still go to bulky pick up service.


Oh, how'd I do? Are you impressed?

- You did really well.

- I want to thank both of you for being here. And thanks for schooling me a bit.

- Thank you for having us.

- Thank you, and happy Earth Day.

- Happy Earth Day to you.