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Recycling-what do you know?
Old 07-30-2019, 05:06 PM   #1
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Recycling-what do you know?

Starting off with a confession and the title question.

Confession... I know nothing!

Question... What do you know?
.................................................. ..............................................

We're in an automated town, where the waste trucks, pick up 95 gallon plastic tubs and tip the contents into the back of the truck.

One container for waste, one for recyclables.
Other than a calendar for pick day up that we received two years, and an unreadable pamphlet of what goes where, no info since then.

I am suspiciously thinking that it all goes to the same place, even though I know it's not true. Somehow, I believe I may not be the only person who doesn't know what goes where.

So, never mind the difference between metal, cardboard, paper and stuff like wood or metals, how about plastic?

There are 7 different classifications of plastic... do you know which ones are recyclable? Can I put the old foam mattress pad into the trash? or the Recyclables? How about the heavy duty plastic container for "Tide"... and what about plastic bottle caps? What about the empty container of power steering fluid?

...anyway, you get the idea. So... do you get guidance from your local government? Does anyone ever check or notify you when you're doing bad?

I never see anything in our local news, or even in national news, about how this attempt at environmental protection is helping...

What about some more instruction... or even some kind of positive or negative incentive to do the right thing?
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:19 PM   #2
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The former MO was to put all the recycling on the slow boat to China, so nobody cared that much if a few non-recyclables were in the mix. But lately I guess China is less willing to buy US recyclables.



But to answer the question, I've gone to the city sanitation department web site, and they had a long description of what was supposed to be in the bin. There were quite a few 'obvious' recyclables they didn't want, like aluminum foil. Seems they don't want stuff that might be have a "high food content".
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:38 PM   #3
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This is the way that we do it:



Actually, the nearest big town is Zero-Sort but the local town recycling center that I usually go to we have separate bins for cardboard/boxboard, paper, plastics, spray cans, glass, metal cans, aluminum (handy magnet to help you differentiate them), plastic bags, egg cartons, batteries.

At home we have separate bins in the garage for paper, plastics and everything else. It is amazing to me that about 2/3 of all our recycling is plastics.

My Saturday morning routine at home is to put the trash and recycling in the truck, go to Mom's and pick up her trash and recycling, go to the recycling center, go to the trash drop-off, stop at the store for whatever we need... all while listening to NPR (oh I miss Car Talk which was often on when I was doing those errands and Click and Clack).
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:48 PM   #4
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Good question, and someday I'll tour our local place.

I recall that Chicago was complaining about those thin wrappers for the newspaper, and other thin bags. Those clog up their machines big time.

But AFAIK, they never made a big public campaign to tell people not to throw those in. OK, some will just do it, but at least some, maybe even most, will try to do the right thing if they know what it is.

Throwing an unread paper into recycling still in the bag just never struck me as a big no-no, but the recyclers in Chicago said it was a major PIA for them.

NOTE - every locality may have different systems, go with what your hauler tells you.

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Old 07-31-2019, 10:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
At home we have separate bins in the garage for paper, plastics and everything else. It is amazing to me that about 2/3 of all our recycling is plastics...
Our apartment provides one bin for garbage*, 1 for flattened cardboard, 2 for organic, 4 for paper products, 5 for plastics, and 1 for glass. We also have a garbage shoot on our floor which is obsolete. We use it for garbage*. The plastics are all labeled as recyclable. All plastics and glass have to be cleaned.
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:19 AM   #6
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=pb4uski;2275057]This is the way that we do it:
Thanks... that was very instructive.
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:45 AM   #7
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The former MO was to put all the recycling on the slow boat to China, so nobody cared that much if a few non-recyclables were in the mix. But lately I guess China is less willing to buy US recyclables. ..........
I read an excellent article in the Sierra Club magazine recently. It turns out that when we went to "single stream" recycling and sent it all to China, they redistributed it out to little recycling villages that sorted the stuff, but were not resourced to deal with all the non -recyclable portion. A lot of that is now part of the floating plastic islands in the oceans.
https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/20...system-garbage
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Old 07-31-2019, 11:31 AM   #8
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I have seen the two dumpsters behind my workplace being dumped into the same truck.

At home, I try to recycle whatever I can, but not sure it does any good, and whether the "recycled" items actually stay out of the landfill.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:55 PM   #9
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Glass is no longer a part of home recycling at a nearby town...too hard on the sorting equipment.

You have to bring it to a central location if you want to recycle your glass, so I suspect most now just goes into the trash.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:21 PM   #10
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Glass is no longer a part of home recycling at a nearby town...too hard on the sorting equipment.

You have to bring it to a central location if you want to recycle your glass, so I suspect most now just goes into the trash.
My city has a single stream setup and accepts 1, 2, and 3 plastics, cardboard, and some other stuff. I have a separate bin for glass and tin and aluminum that I take to the nearby commercial recycling place whenever it gets full.

I do wonder about the questions the OP poses. I *assume* that there are employees who scan the recycling and take out any really unacceptable stuff. I think the rest goes through a mechanical sorting process, and the recycling itself can handle a certain amount of impurities.

But if I have a mostly clean pizza cardboard box, do I err on the side of trash or recycling? (Usually I trash it; today I had a particularly clean one that went in the recycling bin.) If I have a plastic bottle that is recyclable, can I safely assume that the top or lid is also recyclable plastic? (I generally assume so.)
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:32 PM   #11
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Our town has a newsletter to constantly remind people what is and what is not recycleable. Apparently, idiots run out of room in their regular 95 gallon can and put food and other waste in recycling thus contaminating the can and possibly the whole load. They mention that many trucks are diverted to the landfill due to improper sorting of garbage vs recycle material. A takeout pizza boxes are definitely a NO NO - store bought in pizza box with sealed pouch or celephane are ok if no food has touched the cardboard.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:38 PM   #12
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I read an excellent article in the Sierra Club magazine recently. It turns out that when we went to "single stream" recycling and sent it all to China, they redistributed it out to little recycling villages that sorted the stuff, but were not resourced to deal with all the non -recyclable portion. A lot of that is now part of the floating plastic islands in the oceans.
https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/20...system-garbage
Sad, sad article. We have to shift our thinking and behavior to "use and reuse." Clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics discarded at a whim.


"RECYCLING IS SUPPOSED to be the last resort after reduction and reuse," says Bourque, and Berkeley's Ecology Center continues to find innovative ways to push the issue, most recently in a new city ordinance to take effect in January 2020 that will impose a 25-cent charge on all disposable cups sold in the city, including coffee cups. "Why are people sitting around for hours in coffee shops drinking out of paper cups?" Bourque asks. "It's absurd when reusable ceramic cups are such a better option." In addition, disposable utensils, straws, and napkins in eating establishments and coffee shops will be available only upon request or at self-serve stations; takeout food must come with compostable containers and utensils; dine-in food must be served on reusable dinnerware.
"This ordinance is focused on upstream impacts," Bourque says. "It brings reuse back in a big way. If you reuse more, then what's left really is recyclable and gets recycled."
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
...
I never see anything in our local news, or even in national news, about how this attempt at environmental protection is helping...

What about some more instruction... or even some kind of positive or negative incentive to do the right thing?
My county publishes a recycling guide and mails a printed version to everyone once per year. This county guide is also available online on my township's website. Maybe your town, township or county does the same?
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:28 PM   #14
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As the value of recyclables has declined, more municipalities have seen fit to place more specific sorting and packaging requirements on residents. Here the municipality has stopped picking up recyclables unless they are properly packaged in an authorized container. The required containers are no longer available, which has some recycling-minded people stealing containers from others, while other people stop recycling entirely.
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:35 PM   #15
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I have heard that recycling is aspirastional. That is people tend to throw items in the recycle if there is a question. it makes them feel better. Earlier this year many haulers put out a notice that the clam shell plastic was verboten. This is used in a lot of carry out food packaging. Glass is always in a different bin than garbage/recycle/yard waste. Usually a pickup truck with a trailer. Of course the scavengers make a run through first looking for deposit cans & bottles. Had one come through our alley last week as I was scavenging cans& bottles on the other end of the alley! LOL
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:37 PM   #16
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In MN, we have one bin for most stuff. I recycle metal separately.

In FL, all garbage gets burned in my burning barrel.
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:43 PM   #17
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I'm ashamed to admit it, but I can't remember which of the 3 locations we live in has a new motto with regard to recycling. "When in doubt, throw it out". Recycling isn't working very well, from everything I've read. There just isn't the demand for it. Good intentions fall before the free market every time.
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:19 PM   #18
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Here's a link to an article on NPR today about the current state of recycling, including a bit of history. Interesting how municipalities used to actually make money on recycling but now have to pay.

https://www.npr.org/2019/08/21/75152...comes-costlier

I carried my recycling to the local drop-off point today and again saw how people throw whatever they think might be recyclable into the dumpsters instead of what the sign says is actually recyclable. Food waste, lots and lots of plastic bags both in the plastics bin and the paper bin, even an old plastic utility sink covered in mud. I expect they will complain when the county finally stops the program one day.
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:11 PM   #19
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I carried my recycling to the local drop-off point today and again saw how people throw whatever they think might be recyclable into the dumpsters instead of what the sign says is actually recyclable. Food waste, lots and lots of plastic bags both in the plastics bin and the paper bin, even an old plastic utility sink covered in mud. I expect they will complain when the county finally stops the program one day.
Clearly there is a lot of confusion about what can be recycled and what can't. People with the best of intentions, like myself, are often unsure about what to put in the recycle bin and what to trash. Recently, I've been more aggressive about putting anything I'm not 90% sure is recyclable into the trash bin. But my girlfriend is the opposite. She puts anything she thinks might (or should) be recyclable into the recycle bin. I have to periodically remind her that, no, plastic clam shells don't get recycled, nor does styrofoam, and neither do food-stained cardboard boxes.

But then there are people who are simply careless, clueless, and/or utterly irresponsible in the way they use their recycle bins as basically just smaller trash bins. It's appalling. I cannot imagine putting stuff like plastic shower curtains, old cans of paint, or broken kitchen appliances in my recycle bin, but I know stuff like this has to be fished out of the recycling stream every day. Sigh...
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:24 PM   #20
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With the exception of aluminum cans, water / soda bottles, and high grade paper, I no longer " recycle" .

There is near zero market for low grade plastic and paper.

Much of those undesirable plastics and paper do get diverted from landfills in the US. THEN SHIPPED OVERSEAS WHERE A 3RD WORLD COMPANY IS PAID TO PUT IT IN A LANDFILL THERE.

Out of sight, out of mind. What a crock. If we consume it we need to keep the waste here, not have a fantasy that it gets recycled into new products.
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