Are sandwich baggies recyclable? ~User of Baggies

Dear User of Baggies,

The good news is, yes, sandwich bags can be recycled. This includes Ziploc, Hefty, and other comparable bags. Most plastic bags are recyclable, including grocery bags, bread bags, cleaning bags and the sleeves that newspaper come in. Just be sure they are clean and dry before taking them to the recycling bins at Kroger or Walmart, not the Recycling Center as they do not have the capacity to recycle them.

With all this time home due to the COVID-19 virus, I have undertaken to organize all the photographs I have collected over the past years. I have lots of duplicates. Can they be recycled? ~Organizer

Dear Organizer,

No, I am sorry to say, photographs cannot be recycled. According to, photographs contain silver, mercury, and selenium, all of which are considered hazardous waste and cannot be recycled. Perhaps you could make a collage and send it to younger family members. Be sure to identify everyone in the photograph and include dates, if possible. Readers, do you have any ideas for Organized? If so, I am happy to print them. I am sure everyone has duplicate photographs in drawers and will need to do something with them.

I use a pod every morning to make my hot chocolate. Are these used pods recyclable? ~Chocaholic

Dear Chocaholic,

There are two types of pods on the market today. One is the single-use pod and the other one is the reusable pod. The reusable pod requires users to fill the pod with their own beverage mix. The single use pods are designed for convenience. They are ready for immediate use. The majority of these single use pods are not recyclable, biodegradable or compostable. Some manufacturers are advertising recyclable pods, made from #5 plastic. Unfortunately, to recycle them you must first peel off the lid and clean out the contents. For more information on recycling these pods check out Coffee Drinkers Can Recycle Reduce Waste. Nespresso has just started a pod recycling program to make it easy for customers to send the pods back for recycling. They turn the grounds into compost and recycle every part of the capsule. See for more details. Because so many of these pods go to landfills, Hamburg, Germany has gone so far as to ban the use of coffee pods in public buildings

Some of the plastic wrap I see doesn’t have a number of it. Can I put any plastic wraps, even those without numbers, in the drop-off bin at stores like Kroger or Walmart? ~Can’t Find A Number

Dear Can’t Find A Number,

No, your plastic wrap should not be put in a store drop-off bin, like Kroger or Walmart, unless the wrap has a #2 or #4 in the recycle symbol or a How2Recycle Label on it. Some plastic wraps have ingredients in them that can contaminate wrap recycling. If the wrap doesn’t have a recycle number or a recycle label, the safest thing to do is to throw it in the trash. When in doubt, throw it out.

Do #1 and #2 plastics need to be put in separate bags for curbside pick-up? ~Separator

Dear Separator,

No, #1 and #2 plastics do not need to be put in separate bags for curbside pick-up. They can be put in the same bag. If you decide to take them to the Recycling Center, #1 plastics go in the bin labeled #1 plastics, #2 plastics that are clear (can be easily seen through and are not colored) go in the bin labeled #2 clear plastics and #2 colored plastics go in the bin labeled #2 colored plastics

In your column a couple weeks ago, you mentioned empty prescription pill containers not being recyclable. However, my husband reuses these containers by storing $10 worth of quarters in each one. ~Reuse When Possible

Dear Reuse When Possible,

Great idea. Not only is your husband keeping the pill bottles out of the trash, he is saving money. If any reader has an idea for reusing non-recyclable items, I would love to hear about them. I will pass your ideas on to readers in a future column.

Do I need to remove receipts from plastic shopping bags before putting them in the recycle bins at Kroger or Walmart? ~Shopper

Dear Shopper,

Yes, you need to remove all receipts or any kind of paper from the bag before recycling it. Paper causes problems for plastic film recyclers. If there is a paper label on your plastic bag or wraps, remove it before recycling. Plastic labels on plastic film are okay. As with all recyclable items, plastic bags, wraps and films must be clean and dry before recycling. However, you do not need to rinse and dry out the bags before recycling them.

Can an empty small usually dark green propane cylinder be recycled with steel cans? ~Long-time Recycler

Dear Long-Time Recycler,

Yes, propane cylinders can be recycled, but not with steel cans. You will need to take them to the Recycling Center’s drop-off area. It’s located on the small road just to the right of the Recycle Office. There is a sign on the building that says, “Aluminum cans deposit.” One of the workers will be there to receive the cylinder.

Do you accept paper grocery bags at the Recycling Center in Ronceverte? ~Prefers Paper

Dear Prefers Paper,

Yes, the Recycling Center in Ronceverte accepts these bags. Brown paper bags are recycled with cardboard. White paper bags are recycled with white paper. Plastic bags can be put in the recycling bins at Kroger or Walmart. Have you considered taking your own bags when shopping, especially at the grocery store? Many sizes and shapes are available that are environmentally friendly. It takes a while to get into the habit of taking your own bags, but it is worth the effort.