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Recycling 101 - 2.10.14

By LaVerne C. Paulson

Fri, Feb 7th, 2014
Posted in All Home & Garden

Most of you are aware that there are six sites throughout the county where you will find the large, green rural recycling containers. Hundreds of Fillmore County residents prefer to deposit their recyclables in one of these containers rather than drop them off at the Recycling Center in Preston.

While chatting with some of the people who use the rural containers, they are very happy that many of the containers are conveniently close to their homes which makes recycling much easier. These are the same people who tell me that they are not very happy with what they sometimes find in or near the containers. A few people, a small percentage, are depositing garbage into these containers and contaminating some or all of the contents.

These are not garbage containers, they are recycling containers meant for recyclables. When Waste Management brings these containers to the Recycling Center and unloads them into one of our bins before the cardboard, paper, jugs, cans, and bottles are loaded into larger containers, we can then see what was disposed of in the rural containers.

Baler twine, silage bags, computer monitors, water beds, broken toys, soiled diapers, moldy clothing, lawn ornaments, lawn furniture, lumber, spoiled food, televisions, styrofoam, a lot of stuff in plastic bags, automobile parts, tires, carpet pieces, as well as small appliances have been deposited in the containers at one time or another. Some of these items appear each time a container is dumped here at the Recycling Center. The deer carcass was one too many.

The rules for the use of these containers are not difficult. These containers are for recycling purposes only. Fillmore County has its own list of items that are recyclable, and only those items should be deposited in the container. Cardboard, boxboard, newspaper, junk mail, magazines, catalogs, phone books, hard cover books, paperbacks, computer paper, paper towel and toilet tissue tubes, shredded paper in a closed box or closed paper bag, food jars, glass bottles, steel/tin cans and their covers, clean aluminum foil and clean aluminum pie plates, plastic bottles, jugs, and ice cream pails, as well as any plastic container with a “1” or a “2” inside the “chasing arrows” on the bottom of the container.

Besides the items listed in paragraph three... candy wrappers, all plastic caps and covers, used tissue, ovenware, yogurt containers, fridge packs, flower pots, canning jars, window glass, mirrors, ceramics, pottery, light bulbs, egg cartons, bottle caps, cat and dog food bags, food waste, kitchen garbage, soiled cardboard pizza boxes, aluminum foil with food, and amber pill bottles do not belong in recycling. And, of course, all plastic bags. Please, if you bring your recyclables to the container in a plastic bag, no matter what size or what color, empty the contents into the container and take the bags home to be reused, landfilled, or taken back to a store that accepts them. They should be clean and dry.

Should we care what gets deposited into the containers? Yes... When all this stuff gets to the Twin Cities and is separated by the “plastic bag hating machine,” anything Fillmore County material that is not recyclable ends up in a pile that is weighed and we have to pay to get rid of it, most likely in a landfill.

Here is a special request from your recycling coordinator. When depositing cardboard boxes into the rural container, please break them down and flatten them. An empty cardboard box takes up a lot of room that is meant to be used by bottles, cans, and various forms of paper.

Most of Fillmore County residents are conscientious stewards of the land and our many natural resources. For you who are not, it is time to change your attitude concerning recycling and one positive change would be to use these rural containers for recyclables only, and bring your real garbage to the Resource Recovery Center.

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