Believe it or not, here are a few items that end up at our facility from residential recycling containers...

 

Car Parts

Brake rotors, wheels & tires, batteries, and other metal car parts aren't recyclable in curbside recycle carts.  The only metal materials that can be recycled are generally food packaging, such as aluminum beverage cans and metal food cans.  Heavy metal parts should be taken to a scrap metal dealer, and a person could fetch a pretty penny.

 

1 lb Propane Tanks

Any kind of compressed gas tank in your recycle cart is UNSAFE.  This includes the likes of refillable propane tanks used for camp stoves, disposable propane canisters, butane canisters, helium balloon tanks, and oxygen tanks. These  pose massive health and safety risks. Compressed gas cylinders could rupture and catch fire, so it’s vital that they’re disposed of properly at a safe drop-off location!

 

Plastic Gas Cans  

Similar to propane tanks, plastic gas cans pose a large risk of explosion and fire!

 

Plastic Landscape edging

This type of plastic is rarely labeled with a Resin Identification Code (recycle number) which is needed to identify the type of plastic for proper recycling.  In addition, this material is usually quite dirty and the processing lines can’t handle all the shapes and sizes!

 

Plastic toys

These are another item that can’t be recycled because one toy will often contain a variety of different plastic types.   In order for a plastic item to be recycled, it must first contain only 1 type plastic, making plastic toys nearly impossible to recycle in a residential curbside recycle program.

 

Lithium Batteries

No batteries are allowed in your curbside recycle cart, and Lithium Batteries are perhaps the most dangerous.  For starters, they're often filled with acid and some types can start fires when they get smashed with other recyclables.  Lithium-ion batteries usually contain a metal coil and a flammable lithium-ion fluid. Tiny metal fragments float in the liquid. The contents of the battery are under pressure, so if a metal fragment punctures a partition that keeps the components separate or the battery is punctured in our truck or recycling facility, the lithium reacts with water in the air vigorously, generating high heat and often a fire!

 

Many hardware stores accept batteries for recycling. Take car batteries to an auto-repair shop.

 

Plastic Bags

This one might surprise people – it’s a commonly made mistake when recycling. No plastic bags are able to be recycled at standard recycling facilities. Not only are they not recyclable at single sort recycle facilities, but when people put them in the cart loose, they cause havoc on the equipment and cause down time to untangle locked gears.

 

Curbside recycling is collected and processed at Material Recovery Facilities (MRF’s). One of the common items that we find in the recycling stream are   consumer plastic bags. i.e. Target bags, Wal-Mart bags, etc. These plastic bags cause havoc on the sorting facility and create increased downtime. Please, do not place loose bags in your recycle cart.  Plastic bags and wrap can be brought to retailers that offer plastic bag recycling, such as grocery and department stores.

 

You may feel you are being tidy by bagging your recyclables before you put them in the cart.  But all your hard work can actually be working against you because trash bags filled with recyclables end up in the landfill.  Bags containing recyclable items would have to be opened so the individual recyclable item could be sorted. This simply does not happen.  Instead of bagging recyclables, please get a reusable recycling container for inside your home and then dump loose materials into the curbside bin.

 

We all have to pay extra attention to what is put in the recycle carts. You may think it “should be” recycled, but by putting it in the cart when it can’t be, only costs you and me money in the long run.

 

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