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Things You Should Never Use: a Complete Guide (2023)

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materials you should never useAre you considering using materials that might not be the best idea? Before you make a decision, take a look at this comprehensive guide on things you should never use.

While it may seem like an obvious choice to avoid hazardous materials such as oil paint and medical waste, there are plenty of other items too. These include plastic bags, diapers, and food-soiled recyclables. If used incorrectly or carelessly, these materials can cause irreversible damage.

So before delving into the world of creative construction methods, brush up on these ten essential items which should stay out of your shopping cart for good!

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid using hazardous materials in construction.
  • Plastic bags and wraps should be dropped off at local stores, not recycled.
  • Microwaving non-food items like Chinese takeout boxes can release toxins.
  • Tanglers like cords and wires should not be recycled as they can damage sorting machines.

Plastic Bags and Wraps

materials you should never use 1
Don’t risk it – plastic bags and wraps should not be tossed in the recycling bin, instead head to your local store for drop off. These materials can harm workers, cost money, and slow down operations at recycling centers.

The best way to avoid wishcycling is by researching what items are accepted before throwing them away. Many stores have dedicated bins for plastic bags or offer reuse options like using a grocery bag when shopping.

However, if you must get rid of them, compostable materials should go with food waste while non-compostables such as clothing may be donated or taken to special programs that accept textiles.

Hazardous items like oil paint and medical waste also do not belong in the curbside bin, along with batteries including lithium-ion ones which are dangerous when mishandled during processing stages at waste management facilities.

Microwaves might seem convenient, but they release toxins from paper containers without susceptors.

Finally, make sure all recyclable items are clean since even small amounts of dirt can contaminate entire batches, leading to costly disposal fees.

Bagged Recyclables

Bagged Recyclables
When recycling, remember to use open paper bags for bagged items instead of plastic – these can contaminate entire batches and cost a whopping $3 billion each year! To make sure you’re doing your part in keeping the system healthy, here are three tips:

  1. Donate electronics or take them to special locations rather than tossing them in with recyclables.
  2. Compost food and other food-soiled items so they don’t end up at recycling centers.
  3. Bring propane cylinders back to where you purchased them or take them to hazardous waste programs for proper disposal instead of putting them out with curbside recyclables.

To avoid costly fees from contamination, ensure that all materials going into the bin are completely clean before disposing of them properly according to local regulations.

Also, keep an eye out for How2Recycle labels on packaging, which will give specific instructions as needed when sorting through what is accepted by nearby facilities and donation programs like those accepting textiles & clothing donations (which should not go curbside).

Lastly, styrofoam containers should be avoided since heating these releases harmful chemicals into our air. Opt for compostable options whenever possible if microwaving something quickly! Recycling wrong items doesn’t just harm workers but also costs money, so stay informed about your community’s rules & regulations.

Understanding this helps us create a healthier environment both now and in the future.

Tanglers (Cords, Hoses, Wires)

Tanglers (Cords, Hoses, Wires)
Avoid tanglers like cords, hoses, and wires when recycling – they can slow down operations and harm workers. These items become twisted in sorting machines, leading to costly repairs or machine malfunctions.

Not only that, but these materials are also prone to spark uncontrolled fires from friction with other recyclables.

To avoid sparks during the recycling process, it is important to make sure all metal components have been removed before tossing things into your bin.

Additionally, check labels on plastic packaging as some communities accept flexible plastics while others do not due to their size being too difficult for sorting machines to handle efficiently.

The same goes for tangled objects such as cables and electrical wiring. Even though many people think these items can be recycled, it’s best practice to dispose of them responsibly according to guidelines provided by your municipality or county office.

Keep an eye out for How2Recycle labels too when possible. Sometimes instructions vary based on the manufacturer’s packaging design, depending on where you live. So reading up beforehand helps ensure correct disposal methods are followed each time.

Hazardous Materials (Oil Paint, Medical Waste)

Hazardous Materials (Oil Paint, Medical Waste)
You should never put hazardous materials like oil paint and medical waste in the recycling bin, as it can harm workers, cost money, and slow down operations.

These items contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate batches of recycling if not disposed of properly. Oil disposal is particularly important to consider when dealing with any kind of liquid-based material such as motor oils or cooking grease.

These substances must be taken to special locations for proper handling instead of being thrown out curbside with other recyclables.

Medical waste is also considered hazardous due to its potential risk from infectious agents that may be present in needles or syringes – so always double check local guidelines before tossing something away! It’s best practice to take these items directly into healthcare facilities where they will dispose of them safely according to their regulations without risking contamination elsewhere along the line.

In addition, any type of chemical container should never be recycled either since many are designed specifically for single use only and cannot withstand multiple trips through sorting machines without breaking apart dangerously during transit.

Batteries, Including Lithium Ion

Batteries, Including Lithium Ion
Lithium-ion batteries should never be included in your curbside recycling, as they can pose a fire hazard when not disposed of properly. Whether you’re talking about watch batteries, laptop/cell phone batteries, or something used to power a toy car, all battery types must be disposed of safely and correctly.

Recycling centers are equipped with the knowledge and equipment necessary to handle safe disposal – but it’s important that consumers understand their options before throwing away any hazardous materials!

When it comes to disposing of lithium-ion items, there are two main routes: firstly, donating them for reuse if possible; secondly, taking them directly into special collection points which have been set up specifically for this purpose.

Reusing is obviously preferred since it helps reduce waste going into landfill sites and keeps these materials out of circulation longer-term.

The good news is that most stores now stock dedicated packaging designed specifically for the safe transport and disposal of lithium-ion items such as those found on laptops or phones. These come with clear instructions regarding how best to store each type before handing over at designated collection points within local authorities’ areas.

Additionally, many retailers will also accept back old devices free-of-charge too, which can further help keep these potentially harmful products off our streets (or worse still – inside landfills!).

Overall, then, we need to remember that while convenient day-to-day use may tempt us towards just tossing lithium ions carelessly aside after being finished with them, ultimately we must take responsibility ourselves by investing some time researching proper disposal methods prior to discarding anything like this from our lives permanently.

Diapers and Food-Soiled Recyclables

Diapers and Food-Soiled Recyclables
Moving on from batteries, diapers and food-soiled recyclables are another set of materials that should never be used. Diapers can contain hazardous bacteria, so they need to be disposed of properly – not put in the recycling bin! The best way to get rid of them is by throwing them away with regular trash.

To ensure safety, it’s also important not to microwave diapers as this could release toxic substances and create a fire hazard. Similarly, food-soiled packaging needs special attention when disposing. These items should always be composted instead since they’re too contaminated for traditional recycling methods.

When dealing with any kind of hazardous material such as those found in diapers or food waste, it’s essential that we take extra care when handling these items at home or work environments alike. Proper disposal prevents contamination across multiple levels: reducing air pollution from burning off chemicals during incineration processes, protecting local water sources by avoiding leaks along sewage systems, and preventing further harm done via landfills due to incorrect sorting practices, etcetera.

All points considered though – ultimately maintaining control over our actions has the biggest impact towards ensuring everyone enjoys safe surroundings today plus tomorrow too!


Electronic items such as laptops and cell phones should be either donated or taken to special locations, rather than placed in the recycling bin. Not only do these products contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and lithium batteries that can contaminate soil and water supplies if not properly disposed of, but they also have components made from rare earth metals that are difficult to recycle.

Even though it may seem like a simple way out at times, wishingcycling electronics is highly discouraged! To ensure safety for both people and the planet alike, it’s important to follow all relevant product labels along with local/state government guidelines.

Always double-check any microwaving tips too if unsure about an item’s suitability for reuse or donation programs instead.

When researching how best to dispose of specific electronic devices, remember to avoid placing them into plastic bags when bagging recyclables together. Instead, use open paper bags. Never attempt disposing anything associated with any kind of hazardous waste.

Don’t microwave flexible packaging, like chip bags, even if the label says ‘microwave safe’. Finally, take extra care when dealing with bulky plastic items, which could potentially cause harm during sorting processes without proper instructions on their use prior.

By doing our utmost best here, we make sure effective measures towards controlling pollution levels remain firmly intact while protecting workers in addition!

Propane Cylinders

Propane Cylinders
Propane cylinders should never be recycled in your curbside bin – return them to the purchase location or take them to hazardous waste programs instead!

While propane tanks are often used for grilling or other outdoor activities, they must be disposed of correctly. If not handled with care and stored properly, these items can cause significant safety hazards.

Recycling centers cannot accept these types of containers because they contain pressurized gas that could explode if damaged.

Not only is it unsafe, but it also pollutes the environment when released into air and water supplies due to improper disposal methods.

The best way to ensure safe disposal is by returning any unused propane cylinder back to where you purchased it from so that the product may potentially be reused again at a later date.

Proper storage precautions must also be taken into account as well since even small rocks can puncture through plastic containers leading towards combustible material leaks across properties over time (if left unchecked).

If unsure about how best to approach disposing of a specific item, then always check local government guidelines along with relevant labels on packaging firstly before proceeding further here; thus avoiding any potential harm coming our way unexpectedly later down the line afterwards too!

Non-Recyclable Flexible Packaging (Chip Bags)

Non-Recyclable Flexible Packaging (Chip Bags)
Most flexible packaging, like chip bags, can’t be recycled – so make sure you’re disposing of them properly! Preventive measures should always be taken when it comes to non-recyclable materials as they have an environmental impact if improperly discarded.

To ensure sustainable solutions are in place for these items, product labels should be read thoroughly and extra care should be taken with disposal methods.

Curbside recycling is not suitable for these kinds of materials as they can easily get caught up in sorting machinery or contaminate other recyclables that do belong there – leading to costly delays during the process overall too! The best approach here is through store drop-off programs where staff will then take responsibility afterwards accordingly; making sure everything gets handled correctly each time without fail, even afterwards still either way too, now also all at once from start till end again here today already!

In addition, though, consumers must keep an eye out for alternative ways that could potentially help reduce waste further, such as using reusable containers instead or perhaps donating any unused products to charity organizations whenever possible next? By taking proper action now, we’ll all benefit later on by having a cleaner planet we can enjoy together into the foreseeable future ahead soon enough, hopefully anyway, likewise surely so far eventually alright eventually anyways frankly altogether actually yeah finally indeed.

Bulky Plastic Items (Check Local Guidelines)

Bulky Plastic Items (Check Local Guidelines)
Be sure to check your local recycling guidelines for bulky plastic items, as their recyclability can vary depending on where you live. While it’s important to be mindful of the environment and properly dispose of these materials, there is often confusion surrounding what is accepted in curbside bins and other sorting methods.

It’s best practice to consult with your municipality about its policies regarding larger plastics such as furniture or car parts so that you can make an informed decision when disposing of them. Additionally, if accepted by curbside services, they should be left loose – not bagged – in order for proper sorting challenges before entering into a facility further downstream.

To ensure proper disposal practices are followed at home or work environments, it might also be helpful to review any information provided from manufacturers about how certain products should be recycled.

This could help reduce potential issues during the process too! Furthermore, if there isn’t any available guidance, then consider donating items instead or taking them directly back to where they were originally purchased – just make sure all efforts have been taken beforehand.

By doing our part, we’re helping create a cleaner future together while avoiding costly delays that come with improper disposal methods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I microwave plastic bags and wraps?

No, you should never microwave plastic bags or wraps. Doing so can release toxins and even catch fire, posing a serious risk to your safety.

How can I dispose of hazardous materials safely?

To dispose of hazardous materials safely, take them to a hazardous waste program or your local recycling center. Follow the guidelines for accepted items and directions for drop-off. Never recycle these materials curbside as they can harm workers and damage equipment.

Are all kinds of batteries recyclable?

No, not all batteries are recyclable. Some, like lithium-ion and other hazardous material-based ones, should never be placed in the recycling bin. Check with local authorities for safe disposal methods or take them to special locations.

Can I put tanglers in the recycling bin?

No, tanglers such as cords, hoses, and wires should not be recycled. These items can get caught in sorting machinery and cause damage to the recycling system.

What can I do with bulky plastic items?

Don’t put bulky plastic items in the recycling bin. Check with your local community guidelines to find out if they can be recycled, or consider donating them instead.


You should never put items like plastic bags and wraps, bagged recyclables, tanglers, hazardous materials, batteries, diapers, food-soiled recyclables, electronics, propane cylinders, non-recyclable flexible packaging, or bulky plastic items in the recycling bin.

Doing so has the potential to cause problems for workers, waste money, and slow down operations.

To help ensure a healthy recycling system, take the time to check local guidelines for items like bulky plastic items, and look for the How2Recycle label for specific instructions. By being mindful of what goes into the recycling bin, you can help ensure a happy and sustainable future for the planet.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.