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Recycling Laws for America Recycles Day

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on November 13, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sunday is America Recycles Day and many of you will be out this weekend at recycling drives, demonstrations, and events. There are almost 10,000 curbside recycling programs across the country and Americans recycle about a third of all waste, which is great.

But, like anything, there are rules and regulations regarding recycling, covering everything from plastic bags and restaurant grease to economic incentives for small businesses going green. Here are a few of our favorite recycling laws:

Bag Bans

Some of you live in cities that ban plastic bags. Some of you are allowed to recycle them at the curbside with the rest of the plastics. And others live in cities with no plastic bag laws at all. States, counties, and cities are free to determine how they deal with garbage and recyclable materials, so what you decide to do with your plastic bag (if you even get one) will be up to your municipal code.

Tech Trash

We've all got more gadgets these days and they're all in a race to become obsolete. So where do they go when they "die?" Fortunately, there are now companies specializing in electronics recycling, and more companies are becoming tech recycling savvy. You can also check with your device's manufacturer for recycling info (for example, Apple has a recycling program for old iPhones and iPods), or the store where you purchased it (Best Buy may recycle your old TV for free.) And if you're feeling generous this holiday season, you can donate old, but still functioning, electronics to charities. (Just FYI -- this little gift may come back around in the form of a tax break.)

Go Green, Get Green

There are also incentives for small business owners to recycle as well. Beyond doing good for the environment, entrepreneurs can get grants and/or tax breaks for their recycling efforts. You can check the national database listing state incentives for renewables and efficiency and the IRS list of tax credits for going green.

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