(REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.) – Rehoboth Beach is tackling global climate threats by encouraging people to recycle more of their household waste. Delaware Solid Waste Authority leads a Recycling 101 class to explain what should and shouldn’t be tossed into the recycling bin. 

Sydney Gray often recycles while working at Clear Space Theatre. “I would just recycle a whole iced coffee container, ” she says. “I’d put the whole thing in there. I’d put the straw in there.”

According to Stacey Helmer with Delaware Solid Waste Authority, coffee cups and frozen food containers actually shouldn’t be recycled because of the plastic film they’re coated with.

This confusion is why Helmer leads a Recyling 101 class at the Rehoboth Beach Library.

John Wolf, who lives four blocks away, sees a need for more awareness like this in his community, but he does know of some things that shouldn’t be recycled.

“Plastic bags, pizza boxes,” Wolf lists some of the items that Helmer points out in her lecture.

Helmer says plastic bags are commonly found in recycling bins, when they shouldn’t be. “Plastic bags can tangle machines and they should be taken back to the grocery store for recycling,” she says. 

A viewer reached out asking for clarification on why broken glass cannot be recycled when glass is only going to break while it’s being processed. Helmer says the glass will break inside their processing plant by a specific machine.

“The point is to break the glass for transport,” says Helmer. “Before it gets to the machine that’s actually going to break it, smaller pieces are probably going to fall right through.”

Helmer clarifies what is acceptable to be placed in the recycling bin. “Anything that is a plastic container that is found inside your house, glass bottles and jars, metal cans, and paper and cardboard that is clean,” she says. 

For a list of what can be recycled and for where to drop off hazzardous waste and electronics, click here.