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Recycling habits


By LaVerne C. Paulson

Fri, Nov 16th, 2012
Posted in All Columnists

LaVerne C. Paulson

Recycling Education Coordinator

This is a continuation of the last article about improving your recycling habits. As I have mentioned before, a few small changes can make a big difference over a year’s time, or even a month. Please take the time to read over the following suggestions and decide which of these you would like to try to become a better recycler.

One of the best things about this job is visiting with individuals or groups about recycling. A great majority of Fillmore County residents are good recyclers, but have questions concerning Single Stream Recycling, where all this stuff goes, how it is separated, and what new products can be made from the recycled material brought to the Recycling Center, collected at curb side, or deposited in one of our many rural containers. I have met with numerous school, church, and civic groups during the past five years, but I am sure there are many more of you out there that would like to know more about recycling and protecting our precious environment. Simply drop me a line or two at lpaulson@co.fillmore.mn.us and we can set up a time for a presentation, discussion, and perhaps a cup of coffee. In case you are wondering, the cost of a presentation, whether it be fifteen minutes, a half hour, or an hour is the same.....FREE. I’ll be waiting to hear from you. Now, on to the recycling reminders.

Egg cartons are not recyclable. Paper fibers are somewhat like cats. They have approximately seven lives. Each time paper is recycled, the fibers get shorter and shorter until they are too short to make sheets of paper or cardboard. The fiber’s last life is most likely an egg carton. Give your egg cartons to someone who sells eggs, store golf balls in them, use them a plant starters, or they can certainly be an excellent addition to your compost bin.

Most of the household metal recycled here in Fillmore County is in the form of aluminum or tin/steel cans. They do not have to be crushed and the paper does not have to be removed. However, they should be rinsed out. Even though we don’t want your plastic bottle caps, we do want the lids from your glass jars and tin cans. Just remove the steel lid and put it in your recycling container. The big, blue, or sometimes black bin on the west side of the recycling center in Preston is mostly for metal other than cans. Filing cabinets, steel car bumpers, barbed wire, bicycles, barbeque grills, aluminum siding, tire rims, lawn mowers, and such, can be deposited in there. If something is too heavy to lift into the container, just lay it close by and it will find its way into the container.

Not all forms of glass are recyclable. Glass bottles of all colors...brown, clear, blue, and green are recyclable. Whole bottles are preferred, but broken ones are accepted by most recyclers. Glass jars sold in stores containing products such as pickles, spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, and sauerkraut are very much recyclable, as well. Canning jars, plates and cups, ovenware, window panes, mirrors, car windows, and brand name canning jars are not recyclable. These should find their way to the landfill. Metal bottle caps and metal jar lids should be recycled.

Ordinary, run-of-the-mill alkaline batteries are not recyclable in Fillmore County and may be put into landfill garbage. However, rechargeable batteries and button batteries must be recycled. At the Household Hazardous Waste collection in October very few batteries were donated. For the number of Fillmore County residents that use hearing aids, we should have collected a few gallons. Please do not throw them into your burn barrel, garden, sinkhole, river, toilet, or landfill garbage. Cadmium and other nasty elements do not belong in the soil, water, or air.

I hope you will make a few resolutions from these two articles. You don’t have to wait for the New Year. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. E-mail is your best bet. As I mentioned earlier, I think we can all benefit from a visit with your organization. My schedule is rather flexible and I could most likely fit you in. Thank you for becoming better Fillmore County Recyclers.

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