By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Earth Day 2018 is over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop thinking of ways to go green!

One thing anyone can do to protect the planet for years to come is recycle. That’s obvious. But did you know you might be recycling wrong?

Today’s “Lauren’s List” is all about those common items you can’t actually toss in the recycling bin.

  1. Clothes hangers: I recently looked up what to do with a mountain of wire and plastic hangers in my house after a little spring cleaning. I was hoping to toss them in the recycling bin, but was surprised that I couldn’t. Problem is, they’re not 100% metal nor 100% plastic, and the curved edges make sorting difficult. Instead of trashing them though, take them to a thrift store.
  1. Paper towels: You might think, ‘Hey, it’s paper!’ But not all paper is recyclable. First of all, paper towels are usually covered in food or dirt of some kind, which can contaminate other recyclables. Also, they paper towels you’re using may already have been recycled, so the fibers just can’t go through the process again.
  1. Pizza boxes: Not all cardboard is created equal, especially when it’s covered in pizza grease. Much like paper towels, these boxes are simply too soiled to recycle again.
  1. Bubble wrap: If you get as many packages at your house as I do, you could probably wallpaper an entire room in bubble wrap. That’s a better bet than trying to recycle it. The plastic used to make bubble wrap is not recyclable, and the thin film can actually get tangled in recycling machines. You can drop it off where you turn in plastic bags, just don’t put it in your curbside bins.

Do you recycle regularly?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have a future “Lauren’s List” idea, send it to


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