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This Silly Tip Can Double the Amount of Plastic You Recycle

February 9, 2009 | Author: Tal Ater | Filed under: Green Tips

Most of us (I hope) recycle all the plastic bottles we use. But do you also recycle the many other small plastic containers you use daily, or do you just throw them away?

Ready to burn some calories

Ready to burn some calories

Cheese and other dairy containers, small salads, yogurts and the occasional hummus container used to make up a large part of my garbage… Turns out, they can all be recycled just as well as the PET bottles I’ve been collecting for recycling. The reason the recycling companies don’t advertise this fact is a sound one. Throwing these containers in the recycling bin (at home or on the street) and having them stay there for days, or sometimes weeks, can be a serious sanitary hazard and health risk. On the other hand, asking the public to rinse all containers before throwing them is a huge waste of water.

If you have a healthy active dog, cat or another pet that is willing to help, you can increase the amount of plastic you recycle instantly.


  • 1 or more pets
  • 1 or more plastic containers


  1. Place plastic container in front of pet.
  2. Watch as your pet helps the recycling effort by making sure that plastic container is so clean, it shines.
  3. optional: Grab a camera and take some photos/video. You won’t be disappointed.
  4. Collect plastic containers and place in recycle bin.

As always, use your own discretion when deciding what your pet can and should eat. Chocolate puddings are of course out of the question, but so are foods that are too sugary, spicy or contain artificial sweeteners. Many foods are usually fine, especially considering the relatively minuscule portion size your pet gets from just cleaning the container.

If your pet is overweight or obese, this tip is not for you! Obese and overweight pets constitute an estimated 48% of all pets in the USA, I encourage you to learn more about the risks, which include Osteoarthritis, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even cancer. Even if your pet is not overweight, you should spend at least a couple of minutes online learning about the potential risks. ( has a good article on the overweight pet).

I am still in negotiations with my dog regarding his offer to help make our compost heap smaller… he’s such a helpful character.

Final note: What materials are actually recycled changes from country to country and from town to town. Do a web search for your local recycling rules and see what is actually accepted. Filling the recycling bin with stuff that isn’t actually recycled just lowers the efficiency of the recycling center.

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5 people have left comments

Omer - Gravatar

Omer said on February 13, 2009, 2:24 am:

Works with cats, mice and larva as well ;-)

Plastic Recycling - Gravatar

Plastic Recycling said on February 27, 2009, 3:22 pm:

What a neat article and tip! I never thought of using my Golden Retriever to aid me. I will need to do some more research on what is okay for him to eat but good idea.

Tal Ater - Gravatar

Tal Ater said on March 1, 2009, 3:56 pm:

Thanks, don’t forget to take some pictures :)

Please share the results of your research with us so others can benefit from it too.

shredding Houston - Gravatar

shredding Houston said on August 20, 2010, 10:38 am:

Plastic bottles are not the only ones that we can recycle or reuse. We are blessed that recycle bins were invented to help us in managing our plastic and even paper wastes.

shredding San Antonio - Gravatar

shredding San Antonio said on September 16, 2010, 11:50 am:

As silly as it may seem, but this can actually do some good especially to those who have pets. When you buy soda or water in a bottle, chances are you would throw it in the trash after use – but there are certain plastic bottles than can still be reused so that you do not have to buy new ones all the time. Plastic, and even paper, can serve a number of purposes even after you have used it for its original purpose, you just have to be creative and practical about it.

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