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Recycling 101

By LaVerne C. Paulson

Fri, Nov 29th, 2013
Posted in All Home & Garden

One of the basic rules of recycling is to keep your materials as clean and as dry as possible. Wet newspaper and cardboard can get really messy and excessive food and drink left in cans and bottles stored in that container at your house tend to smell bad and attract unwanted vermin.

Cardboard and newspaper are the most common forms of paper recycled here in Fillmore County. We get tons of paper every week. Please remember that fridge pack boxes, TV dinner boxes, and frozen pizza boxes have that waterproof coating and are not recyclable. Cardboard take home pizza boxes, or parts of them, however, are recyclable if they are clean, dry, and contain no food or oils. Most pet food bags have a plastic layer for moisture control that makes them unrecyclable, as well.

Paperback books as well as hard cover books are recyclable in Fillmore County, not to mention all your junk mail, magazines, and catalogs. We are not getting as many phone books as expected. They are to be recycled. If you look at the bottom of the inside cover of your local phone book, you should see a chasing arrow symbol. Minnesota law requires ALL telephone directories be recycled. Please keep them out of the landfill and send them to us.

Paper milk cartons, soup stock boxes, and drink boxes are not recyclable. They contain a thin plastic liner that we don’t want. There has been more than one discussion adding these to recycling lists, but nothing yet.

If you own cordless power tools, cell phones, razors, pagers, electric toothbrushes, cordless telephones, or cordless grass trimmers, you most likely have rechargeable batteries. If a battery is rechargeable, it should be recycled. Many of these batteries are nickel/cadmium (Ni-Cad). The nickel part of the battery isn’t too harmful, but the cadmium is a nasty metal that is relatively safe as part of a battery, but can cause all kinds of problems to humans and other animals if it gets into water or soil. These must be recycled and not burned, buried, or otherwise disposed of improperly. This is also true for hearing aid batteries and all other button type batteries. Your common alkaline batteries, such as those found in most flashlights and the like, are not recyclable in Fillmore County and should be placed in your landfill garbage.

The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District invited me to their annual sixth grade tour at Forestville this past September to chat with more than 180 students from throughout the county. This was the sixth year I have participated in this educational event. As I met with the different groups that stopped by to visit with me, I couldn’t help but notice how much the students actually know about our precious natural resources and how recycling is beneficial to all of us. The teachers at all grade levels should be commended for this. And, of course, it is no secret that parents and other family members are teaching the kids about the fine art of recycling.

I must thank Rick Grooters, the entire Soil and Water staff, and the board of supervisors of the FSWCD for sponsoring this field day. The weather cooperated, the kids were eager to learn, and, of course, as usual, the gourmet meal of tube steak served at noon was exceptional. I am certainly looking forward to next year’s celebration.

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