Recyclers are a dedicated, inspiring group

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, April 12, 2023

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I’m sometimes amazed at how dedicated our recyclers are. Some come at 6:40 a.m. before I have even set up the signs and stairs. On days when it’s raining cats and dogs they recycle anyway. Folks have been wonderful about breaking down their corrugated cardboard boxes, mashing their big plastic milk jugs and putting only beverage cans in the bin that says aluminum.

Our pickup locations are at Harmon Field (Monday), Saluda (Tuesday), Green Creek Fire Department (Wednesday) and Columbus (Thursday). At all locations we’re there from 7 a.m. to noon.

I’m often asked if I’ll be here if there’s a storm or very heavy rain. Polk County in their wisdom issues us rain pants and jackets in case it rains. Like the mailman, neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, figuratively speaking, will keep us from recycling. When the last hurricane came up the coast and it was blowing 40-50 mph in Columbus, recycling happened.

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What we take aside from cardboard and paper, are containers that hold food or household products. Plastic containers with the numbers 1-7 in a triangle on the bottom are acceptable. Bottles that have held food or household products are fine. All other plastic, like coat hangers, packing, bubble wrap, plastic implements, and Styrofoam are not recyclable even if they have a triangle. Glass other than bottles is not recyclable. Examples are drinking glasses, window and mirror glass, ceramics etc.

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

Our categories are as follows:

  • Aluminum drink cans (no cat food cans)
  • Plastic containers and steel cans together
  • Glass bottles
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Mixed paper (includes books, magazines etc. When in doubt if it’s paper or cardboard, call it paper). 

We also take all kinds of light bulbs and batteries, except car batteries. At the landfill there are also containers for anti-freeze, gasoline and oil, places for scrap metal and appliances and car batteries. Electronics are also accepted for a $10 fee.

We have several folks who can load their cars but can’t carry their recyclables to the trailer. Please don’t let that stop you from recycling. I’m happy to come to your vehicle and carry the recyclables for you. I admire the folks who keep recycling in spite of challenges.


Some of the folks I see on Thursday have been recycling for many years. Your dedication is inspiring. Thanks for reading.


Submitted by Dan Dworkin