Letterwerks Sign City
"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Online Edition
Monday, July 25th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞


By LaVerne C. Paulson

Fri, Jan 11th, 2013
Posted in All Home & Garden

A lot of plastic passes through the recycling center here in Preston each week. Plastic containers are lightweight and strong, making them desirable for their durability. The most common containers that are recyclable are milk jugs, juice containers, soda bottles, and of course, the ever popular water bottle. These take up a lot of room in landfills, decompose extremely slowly, and should be recycled.

Plastic is chopped, shredded, cleaned, melted, pelletized, and manufactured into numerous new products. Some is made into insulation, fiber, carpet, strapping, auto parts, tennis balls, shower curtains, paintbrushes, and scouring pads. Some is made into detergent and motor oil bottles, bathroom stalls, plastic lumber for picnic tables and decks, drainage pipes and tile, landscape edging, recycling bins, and combs.

What plastics are recyclable? Things haven’t changed since the last time this topic was discussed. Most of the time, if it is a bottle or a jug, it should be recycled in Fillmore County. That also means that if it has a “1” or a “2” inside the “chasing arrows” on the bottom of the container, it is recyclable. Somewhere between twenty and thirty percent of plastic containers are ones. These are usually transparent or tinted and are used as pop, liquor, mouthwash, and cooking oil containers. The most commonly recycled plastics are twos. Fifty to sixty percent of all plastic bottles fall into this category. These are most commonly used for milk, juice, ice cream, or water. These two groups make up most of your recyclable plastic. Clamshell containers that contain grape tomatoes, blueberries, cherries, or blackberries are usually recyclable.

As I have mentioned many times before, number five plastic is not recyclable in Fillmore County. These are your cottage cheese, yogurt, margarine, and most whipped topping containers. These melt at a different temperature than the recyclable containers and are considered contaminants in many recycling programs. However, there are places in the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, and the East Coast where these are accepted, but here in Fillmore County they are considered landfill unless you can find some creative way to use them for storage around the house, school, or church. As most of you know, they are great containers for leftovers and some people are now taking one or two with them when they eat at a restaurant just in case they want to bring a portion of their meal home for later. The tops snap on and the plastic containers are much more sturdy than those sometimes flimsy styrofoam containers.

Another form of plastic that is recyclable is flexible film. This is your everyday plastic grocery bag, bread bag, dry cleaning bag, or plastic wrap. This is number “4” plastic, but this isn’t printed on the bag. Again, let me emphasize, we do not want plastic bags of any kind mixed with the recyclables. They get caught in the gears and pulleys of the conveyor belts in the Cities and cause slow downs and break downs. Recyclables are not to be left at the curb in plastic bags. Recyclables in plastic bags should not be deposited in the bins at the recycling center, but should be emptied and the bag taken home to be used again or deposited in the red container that is meant for used plastic bags. If you use one of the seven rural containers throughout the county, simply dump your recyclables into the container and take the bag home with you. We must make every effort to eliminate all plastic bags of any kind in our recyclable material.

Please take all plastic grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags, and clean, dry plastic wrap to a store that accepts plastic bags for recycling. There are several stores in Fillmore County that have large containers where you can deposit these bags for free. Some larger stores in Rochester have bins for plastic bags, as well. Better yet, join the “Bag Brigade” of Fillmore County and get a few of those attractive and durable cloth or canvas bags that are much stronger and make the statement that you sincerely care about the environment and our precious natural resources.

No Comments Yet. Be the first to comment!

Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.