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Keep Pests Out of Your Recyclables

By Chris Williams on April 20, 2012.

Recycling is what we all do these days. But, if recycling containers and recycling centers aren’t carefully monitored, they can provide a nice refuge for pests such as cockroaches and fruit flies. The problem is that containers tossed into recycling bins are rarely completely empty, and they are not always rinsed. It doesn’t take much syrupy residue in the bottom of a soft drink can to generate a lot of fruit flies.

Recycling bins are usually not picked up or taken to refuse centers as often as regular garbage, giving pests more time to develop. Recycling also encourages people to buy in larger quantities and to reuse packaging and containers. This gives stored product pests like Indian meal moths more opportunity to develop.

recycle-binsRecycling bins are not washed out as often as they should be. Sometimes bins are lined with plastic bags but if the bags are not removed, unseen liquid food residue can accumulate under the bag. Here’s how to recycle without inviting pests:

  • Use washable covered recycling containers whenever possible and line them with a plastic bag to catch drips or spills. Tie plastic bags off as soon as the bin is full. Be sure that you remove and recycle the plastic bag as well; don’t reuse the bag.
  • Smaller recycling bins are better since they require more frequent pickup or emptying. Empty recycling bins at least weekly. Try not to stockpile your recyclables. Flies can develop from egg to adult in just a few days in warm weather so you want to get those recyclables out of your home. If they are not immediately picked up or taken to a refuse or recycling faculty, tie off the bag and store it in a cool place.
  • The biggest step you can take to prevent flies and other pests is to rinse empty food and drink containers before putting them into recycling bins. This also prevents odor problems in your recycling area.
  • When possible, place recycling bins in a garage or porch, rather than in the kitchen.
  • Wash plastic or metal recycling bins with soapy water frequently to remove any food spills and insect eggs in the bottom.

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