Recycle Containers Without Recycling Pests!

By Chris Williams on February 7, 2011.

Q.We have a lot of little gnats flying around in our garage in the area where we have our recycling bins. Could they be attracted to the bins?

A. It’s very likely that your recycling bins are the source of the flies. Surprisingly enough, recycling can create pest problems…if you don’t do it right. There are a number of pests, mostly small flies, that can live and breed very happily in the little bit of sticky ooze that accumulates in the bottom of a recycling bin. Cockroaches, too, are attracted to recycling bins just like they are to garbage cans. A barrel full of syrupy soft drink cans waiting for recycling can feed a lot of roaches.

The problem is that food and drink containers that are tossed into bins for recycling are never completely empty of food residue and are almost never rinsed out before tossing. Add to that the fact that recycling containers may sit for days before they are finally emptied. It doesn’t take much more than a few days in warm weather for fruit flies or house flies to develop from eggs to adults in the bottom of that container.


Here’s how to recycle without inviting pests:

• Rinse all food and drink containers before placing them in recycling bins (this helps with odor problems too).

• Use covered recycling containers whenever possible. Rinse out plastic or metal recycling bins after they have been emptied. Don’t just dump new recyclables into a dirty bin that may already have fly eggs in it. Line cardboard bins with a plastic bag to catch spills. Tie plastic bags off as soon as the bin is full.

• Don’t stockpile your recyclables. Make sure bins are emptied frequently. For this reason, small bins are better than large ones. If your recyclables are not picked up at curbside, take them on a regular schedule to a recycling center or transfer station that recycles.

Recycle responsibly and you won’t have to worry about those flies anymore!



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