County: when in doubt, throw it out

Pin It

Please, please throw it out!

That may not be the message you want to hear near Earth Day, but the truth is “too zealous recyclers have contaminated the recyclables with trash.”  They are ruining the ability to market the material nationwide. Chester County residents are great recyclers, but shouldn’t be tempted to be too passionate putting items in the bin that do not belong and “trashing” the recyclables. Properly prepared and collected recyclables are valued commodities sold on a global market.  When too many non-recyclables (trash) are mixed in with the recyclables it all becomes “trash”, is too costly to separate and requires disposal at a landfill. Meanwhile too much money has been spent on collection, transportation and processing material that wasn’t worth collecting in the first place.

Scrap metal, hangers, pieces of rope or hose, pieces of wood, yard waste and children’s toys are just a few of the items that “contaminate” the recyclables. Scrap metal may be taken to a scrap dealer, yard waste should be composted and reusable children’s toys may be donated or thrown away if broken.  Do not put them in the recycling bins.

Plastic bags present another problem. Recyclables should never be put in plastic bags.  Plastic bags are not recyclable in curbside programs. They jam the source separating equipment at recycling facilities. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to your local grocery store and plastic trash bags should be used for trash only not recyclables.

Most curbside programs in Chester County collect mixed paper, flattened corrugated cardboard cut down to 18” x 24”, glass bottles and jars, steel and aluminum cans, plastic bottles and containers #1-5 plus 7. Our programs also collect clean aluminum foil and pie tins and empty steel aerosol cans. No Styrofoam, polystyrene, foam. Everything else should be thrown away and that’s okay. Remember only plastic containers and bottles with recycling symbols can be recycled. If there is no recycling symbol, throw it out. Most recyclables will come from the kitchen or in the mail as paper or corrugated cardboard. If you really want to do something positive for the planet, do it right. If in doubt, throw it out!

Still unsure or want to know more? Contact your hauler, municipal recycling coordinator or visit www.chestercountyswa.org for more information.

PDF24    Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.