Simplify Recycling with RecycleCoach

We are proud to partner with RecycleCoach and Keep Houston Beautiful to share how Houston Moms can simplify recycling and move toward more sustainable living.

Hi Houston Moms. It’s me again, your friendly Earth advocate blogger. Back in April, I shared with you some Simple Steps to Being Environmentally Friendly. Now I am back to tell you all about a super cool new app, RecycleCoach. There is also a desktop version of the app available. 

Simplify Recycling with RecycleCoach

The Perils of Wishcycling

We’ve all heard of the phrase, “When in doubt, throw it out,” but that is not particularly true when it comes to household waste. Obviously, it is best to recycle as much as possible. But I am here to tell you that this app taught me a new term, “wishcycling.”

Wishcycling is when someone tosses something into their household recycling bin without truly knowing whether or not it is recyclable by their curbside program. They hope for the best, but oftentimes this causes a lot of problems. If something wishcycled contaminates the recycling collection, the entire collection might have to be discarded. I am looking at you, greasy pizza box. That is expensive and unfortunate. WasteManagement estimates that 25% is the average contamination rate for curbside recycling.

Think of how much time is spent sorting, discarding, and transporting due to contamination. Think of how many perfectly good recyclables end up in a landfill because of one person’s lack of knowledge. Top tip:: Do NOT bag your recyclables. The bag is contaminating the recycling collection. The problem with bagged recyclables is that 1) plastic bags are not recyclable in Houston and 2) bagged recyclables end up in the landfill because the facility won’t be able to identify and correctly sort the recyclable items inside

I am here to tell you, that the person guilty of wishcycling could be as well-intentioned as Mother Teresa, but if they don’t KNOW what their municipality collects, they could unintentionally cause a lot of harm. How do I know? You might be wondering . . . I know because I was that person.

I, self appointed Recycle Queen of Texas, was including glass bottles in my recycling bin. I can drink my weight in Champagne, so I really hoped the bottles were recyclable, and my recycling bin said they were right there on the lid. It turns out, that after they printed all of the recycling bins, they decided to stop collecting glass. D’oh. I had moved here from a place that made it very well known that no glass was to be included in the trash. So confusing. I only found out by chance through a discussion on my neighborhood’s Facebook page. But now I know to collect them separately and drive them down to my local recycling center. They even take them out of my vehicle for me. I just sit in my car, smile, and tell them my ZIP code when they ask.

How RecycleCoach Can Help

Simplify Recycling with RecycleCoach

Here is where RecycleCoach could have helped me big time! Once you download the app from the App Store, you input your street address. The app is then tailor-made for you! It includes garbage and recycling pick up as well as bulk waste information.

My favorite feature is “What goes where?” If you select, “What goes where?” from the drop down menu and click “View all,” it really does cover just about anything. For example, there is a listing for “Amazon boxes.” If you guessed that they are recyclable, you’d be correct. But it goes a step further to tell you to flatten and bundle them or reuse them. It tells you that the packing materials inside “like clear plastic shipping pillows and Styrofoam peanuts” should go in the garbage. It also gives you a list of drop off locations if you have an abundance of recycling {or your curbside program is suspended like mine has been off and on due to COVID-19}. The app gives several drop off locations which includes operating hours, address, and a map with driving directions. That is so incredibly helpful. In addition, it outlines the curbside recycling collection requirements. 

If you are looking at an old tube television or laptop, it is especially helpful to utilize “What goes where?” It specifies that Texas actually has a manufacturer take back law and directs you to a website that lists all of the major brands and how they can be recycled at no cost to you! “An Intro to e-waste: Why it’s a problem” is also included under the television link. It outlines what electronic waste is and why it is so harmful to us and our environment.

The 7 Steps . . . to Being a Better Recycler

RecycleCoach doesn’t just provide all of the answers to your household waste questions, but it also offers some advice. The seven rules to live by provide a clear and concise framework for proper handling and disposal of materials. It contains tips that help you avoid being the recycling contaminator.

Knowing is Half the Battle

So ahead of the holiday rush and Amazon Prime Day, be prepared. If you live within the Houston city limits, RecycleCoach will have you covered. The collection calendar is personalized to your address, so special collection events {like Christmas tree collection} and regular collection days are in a digital calendar that can remind users of collections or holiday scheduling changes via notifications. Go give them a follow on social media as well, as they often share good tips for sustainable living. 

Get the RecycleCoach app today, either on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Happy recycling, Houstonians.

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Christy grew up in Cajun Country. After graduating from LSU, she worked as an editor for a Louisiana chef. After Hurricane Katrina devastated her home state, she assisted in the recovery efforts, which ultimately moved her to Houston. Christy and Ryan were married in St. Lucia in 2006. Five years later, after welcoming their first child, Lilla {March 2011}, she became a high school English and Photojournalism teacher. After Flynn {March 2013} joined their family, Christy became a stay-at-home mom. Soon after, the family jumped at the chance to move to Perth, Western Australia. After almost four years, they relocated to Santiago, Chile. Both places {and their wines} hold a special place in her heart. Christy enjoys cheering on her beloved LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints, texting friends in complete sentences, taking heaps of photos, planning vacations, advocating for our planet, and cooking delicious meals in her kitchen.


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