Home → Contamination → Why Do I Have To Separate My Recycling?

Why Do I Have To Separate My Recycling?

Jul 5, 2020 | Contamination, Trash Talk

It’s about to get trashy…

For many years, many communities in our district comingled their materials into one bin for all of their plastic, metal and glass. Some communities separated their materials out and probably haven’ seen a comingle bin.

Recently, the District has undertaken the daunting task of updating our recycling sites with new bins and labels. These labels now require residents to separate their materials into 5 separate categories below:

 

Why are we asking everyone to separate their materials!? Thanks for asking. Believe it or not, we get a lot of calls on this so I thought I would give you the inside scoop.

1) Co-mingled bins were just glorified trash dumpsters. We have had couches, beds, mattresses, building materials, etc… thrown into our bins. We can only recycle what’s on the labels. Please follow them exactly. Place only the items pictured and requested on the label.

2) The extra cost of contamination was doubling our costs which was not sustainable

3) Separating the material allows us to identify contamination easier and earlier. If we are able to remove an item from the bin earlier, this can lead to lower costs.

4) The problem isn’t what truck the materials are dumped into but how you as the resident put your recyclable material into the bin. We can only accept clean material. 

Recycling is good for all of us. Help us to ensure your recycling is recycled.

 

13 Comments

  1. Randy Neubauer

    I was diligent in separating commingle from cardboard & paper. Now typically because of a few bad apples you decide to force everyone to more effort. Well I don’t spend my time separating all my trash to save you from any effort. Plus no plastic bags. How am I supposed to get my trash to the bins. You lost me. I’ll still bring my cardboard to recycle and maybe paper (minuscule) but the rest is headed to the landfill. Too bad.

    Reply
    • Steve Tharp

      Randy, Thanks for reaching out to us. Earlier this spring, 75% of our loads were trash. People were putting unimaginable items in our bins. In addition, we were paying over $20,000 extra a month on top of our regular monthly fee. This was unsustainable. We are asking residents to not place their plastic bags inside the bins. It’s a contaminate that causes major problems in the machines at the Material Recovery Facility. We just ask that you dump your clean recycling as stated on the labels into our bin and taking your plastic bag home to either reuse or throw away. We will be sending out our newsletter here in a month or so which should help to clear up some of our changes. Thanks for reaching out to us as we value this kind of feedback.

      Reply
  2. Jane Kremp

    Do you no longer take paper milk cartons? I am really finding this website difficult to use.

    Reply
    • Steve Tharp

      Paper milk cartons are not recyclable in our bins. We do not want food-grade materials in our paper bins. Could you help us clarify how the site is difficult to use? This would be helpful information as we make updates.

      Reply
      • David

        Hi Steve. Conveniently just visited today for this exact question. I knew in the past that waxed paper food containers weren’t accepted, but wanted to verify that was still current since the jug says “recycle me” on the side.

        The website works well for finding where to drop off materials, but it’s hard to find/know what restrictions or considerations to make when submitting.

        I remember the previous mailed flyers used to have a guide for types of plastics or things to avoid (grease soaked, etc). I think “Common Recyclable Materials” needs definition on the website.

        Thanks.

        Reply
        • Steve Tharp

          That is helpful. I think we were trying to compensate by using the blogs and social media for that but perhaps you are on to something there. We will look into it! Check out our blogs for more information!

          Reply
  3. Mike

    The manufactures have done a great job identifying the type of plastics ie. #1 thru #7
    this makes it easy to separate. It would be helpful to provide a list of acceptable
    recyclables by number on this website. In my opinion ” Plastic bottles and jugs” is too vague or as an example am I to assume #1 restaurant carryout clam shell containers or #5 white cottage cheese containers are no longer acceptable for recycling?

    Reply
    • Steve Tharp

      Mike, thanks for reaching out to us. Your comments are very helpful. Here is what we know: we do not use the number system for plastics because the numbers do not determine if it is recyclable or not. Plasic bottles and jugs are the specific items that the industry wants because there is a market for those. I will develop a blog on this topic to further clarify what is a plastic bottle or jug. We can always improve our message. To answer your question, yes, those items are not recyclable. We are told the plastic must have a neck and shoulders to be recycled. Look for our blog soon!

      Reply
  4. Lisa Nussbaum

    What about paperboard, like cereal boxes? Are they paper or cardboard? Your old bins clarified that. Also what about metal lids, like ones that were on glass jars?
    I also think that the website is not user friendly when trying to find out what is/is not recyclable, which I believe would be the main reason for people to come here. Finding a location would be secondary. I believe people currently coming here are already recycling at a current location and are trying to get clarity on what stuff cannot be recycled anymore, since your bins have changed. You really need a more specific do/don’t list like what you had before. Especially since you can’t get ahold of anyone at the 800 number. I understand that not being able to recycle what was previously recyclable is not your fault. But the responsibility to be transparent about what can/cannot be recycled on your website lies on you. The diligent recyclers are coming here looking for answers, but aren’t finding them. Doing that will only help your goal of keeping the junk out of the bins. I, for one, until now, have still been putting all plastics with recycle triangles in your bins because I had no clue why you changed things, and the simplistic design of the new bins was not enough of a deterrent, sorry to say. And I would still be putting in cottage cheese containers if I had not read these comments. Many steadfast recyclers are not going to throw plastics away unless the message is presented in a much clearer fashion. I honestly think if there was more info on the bins themselves, you would get less unwanteds. Like, at least specifically say to not go by the triangles anymore. I wish you luck, I know this can’t be an easy job.

    Reply
  5. Lisa N

    What about paperboard, like cereal boxes? Do they go in the paper bin or cardboard bin? (Your old bins clarified that.) Also, can metal lids, like the ones from glass jars, be recycled?
    I also think that the website is not user friendly when trying to find out what is/is not recyclable, which I believe would be the main reason for people to come here. Finding a location would be secondary. I believe people currently coming here are already recycling at a current location and are looking for clarity on what stuff can/cannot be recycled anymore, since your bins have changed. You really need a more specific do/don’t list like what you had on the website before. Diligent recyclers are coming here looking for answers, but aren’t finding them. I understand that you are not responsible for what the industry will accept as recyclable, byt being transparent about what you want or don’t want in your bins is your responsibility. Doing that will only help your goal of keeping the junk out of the bins. I, for one, until now, have still been putting all plastics with recycle triangles in your bins because I had no clue why you changed things, and the simplistic design of the new bins was not enough of a deterrent, sorry to say. And I would still be putting in cottage cheese containers if I had not read these comments. Many steadfast recyclers are not going to throw plastics away unless the message is presented in a much clearer fashion. I honestly think if there was more info on the bins themselves, you would get less unwanteds. I wish you luck, I know this can’t be an easy job.

    Reply
    • Steve Tharp

      Lisa,

      I think you hit the nail on the head that this is not easy. There is so much material out there. To address some of the issues you highlighted, here are a few thoughts I have. Paperboard can go in with the paper. We only want the corrugated in the cardboard. Metal lids can go in with the glass. When we redesigned the website, it was because we were being overwhelmed with calls asking for where to take things. When you go to our website, the first thing you see as you scroll down is the “what do I do with” section. We struggle between providing a lot of information (which can confuse some) and providing the basics (which some claim is not enough). I would love to hear more from you on this as we are definitely interested in being a more user-friendly operation. We have blogs on our site that you can also read through for more information. I hope this helps. I will pass these comments along. They are helpful!

      Reply
  6. Bruce

    I have corrugated cardboard with shiny printed paper coatings. Recyclable?

    Reply
    • Steve Tharp

      Hello!

      Without seeing it, it would be hard to say. Are the shiny printed paper coatings able to be removed? are they large? Any information would be helpful!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X
X