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Recycling Hard to Recycle Items

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dealing With Hard to Recycle Items

It’s one thing to make an effort at your company to recycle the easy stuff—paper, plastic goods, soda cans, etc. But there are certain items that can’t simply be thrown into a bin and picked up through a normal recycling service. And depending on the nature of your business, you might have significant quantities of these items that you need to get off your hands. 

Styrofoam (Expanded Polystyrene)

If you ship anything or have anything shipped to you, chances are, you end up with a surplus of expanded polystyrene. Haulers with their own bottom lines to consider generally recommend using an open top container to haul it to a landfill but this voluminous product can fill containers quickly and increase your hauling costs. Recycling it can be much more cost-efficient and beneficial for the environment, but some recyclers prefer expanded polystyrene to be run through an EPS Densifier, which melts the foam down to take up less room. Purchasing and maintaining these machines can be costly so it’s important to talk to an independent waste management advisor about your EPS recycling options.

Wood Pallets and Dunnage

Shipping large quantities of products? Then you probably have wood pallets and dunnage to dispose of or recycle as well. Vinyl dunnage bags were designed to be reusable. As long as there’s no contamination, the most cost-effective option is to put them back on the truck as many times as possible. Wood boards, planks and pallets can also be reused until they break. And even then, as long as they’re free from nails and staples, wood items can be ground up for mulch. The tricky part is finding a vendor that will take odd sized and damaged pallets and dunnage that is specific to your industry.

White Goods

Appliances that contain Freon, like air conditioners, refrigerators and dehumidifiers can be recycled but are regulated in how they must be handled. Since the creation of the Clean Air Act, companies and individuals must find an EPA compliant recycler to remove Freon and document its removal. Failure to follow the EPA guidelines and provide proper documentation can result in your company being slapped with a fine. But once you have the Freon removed, metal and other materials in these appliances can be recycled and rebates can be earned. If you’re recycling white goods in bulk, you may even be able to create a revenue stream.


Not surprisingly, used mattresses are costly to haul and dispose of in a landfill. They are difficult to move and take up a lot of space. Businesses like hotels that often have to replace mattresses can save significantly on hauling costs and take advantage of landfill diversion rebates by recycling. Waste Disposal Solutions maintains a current database of recyclers in the US and Canada that can help you Starve the Landfill and Feed Your Bottom Line.


There are many other items that require special recycling procedures. To find a vendor that fits your individual recycling needs, contact us.