Clearing up the do’s and don’ts of Recycling

Published 11:54 am Thursday, August 1, 2019

For many people, simply taking plastic and cardboard to the recycle bin is all there is to it. However, the reality is, there is much more to it, especially on the back end. Everything dropped off needs to be sorted, which starts with removing what items are actually recyclable from those that are not. 

So what items are recyclable and what isn’t? The key word is containers. The plastic that is recyclable is in the form of containers that hold either food or household products. These have the numbers 1 – 7 stamped in a triangle on the bottom. Virtually all other plastic like coat hangers, packing, bubble wrap, drinking straws, plastic implements, plastic bags, styrofoam etc. are not recyclable.

The following metal items are not recyclable at the truck: coat hangers, hardware, tin foil or tin pie pans, other metal tools or gadgets. All metal is recyclable at the landfill. Containers either metal or plastic that have held poison, pesticides, herbicides, gasoline, anti-freeze, etc. are not recyclable.

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Our recyclable categories are as follows: aluminum drink cans, plastic containers and steel cans together, glass (bottles only), corrugated cardboard and mixed paper (includes books, magazines, paper in any form).

Some other items that have caused confusion are other aluminum cans like cat food cans. They go in with the plastic. Glass, other than glass bottles that have held food or household products, is not recyclable. Examples are ceramics, drinking glasses, window glass, mirrors etc. 

We also take all kinds of batteries with the exception of car batteries and all kinds of light bulbs.

Electronics like TVs, computers, microwaves etc. must be brought to the landfill. There is a $10 charge to drop them off.

Our new rule is that when the trailer is full, we leave. Come early to make sure your trip is not wasted. 

A warm thank-you to all our recyclers. Many now crush their plastic milk jugs and other large plastic containers and break down their corrugated cardboard boxes. That helps us get a lot more material on the trailer and allows the attendant to help those who can’t climb or who need other assistance. Your help is much appreciated.                        

Our pickup locations are at Harmon Field (Monday), Saluda (Tuesday), Green Creek Fire Department (Wednesday) and Columbus behind the Polk County Historical Museum (Thursday). All pickups are from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Submitted by Dan Dworkin