AUSTIN, Texas — Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day, a day to educate and motivate people to recycle. Companies like Junk King exist to make recycling a little bit easier.

"What we do is we help people eliminate the waste in their life," said Junk King General Manager Stephen Cox.

Junk King picks up your used stuff with the goal of reusing or recycling what it gets. It donates items to places like Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity, and they make sure recyclable materials get to the right place. 

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"We try to take those to places that will recycle it as well, and not just take it to the landfill," said Cox.

When it comes to reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill, recycling isn't the first step.

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"If we think about recycling, it should be the last step that we take when trying to discard or get rid of something that we don't want," said Memi Cardenas from Austin Resource Recovery.

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The first step to reducing waste is to consider your purchasing habits. 

"Is this something that you need to purchase? If it is a yes, is it something that you dispose of immediately or could it be reused? Then after you don't have a use for it, see if you could donate it to somebody else," said Cardenas.

Here's what you can put in those blue recycling carts:

  • Paper, including newspapers, junk mail and magazines
  • Cardboard, including toilet paper/paper towel rolls and boxes
  • Metals, including tin cans and aluminum foil
  • Glass, including jars and caps, bottles and bottle caps
  • Hard plastics, including water/soda bottles, jars, buckets and lawn chairs

Here's what you cannot put in the blue recycling carts:

  • Plastic bags, including trash bags and plastic film
  • Garden hoses
  • String of lights or electrical cords
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Rope

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