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Recycling 101 7.21.14

By LaVerne C. Paulson

Fri, Jul 18th, 2014
Posted in All Home & Garden

There continues to be questions concerning what is and what is not recyclable in Fillmore County. Each county in Minnesota has different lists of what can be recycled in their county. That is not to say that one way is much better than another. Recycling is a good thing no matter where you live. The main thing to remember is that the more recyclables you can keep out of the landfill, the less negative impact you will have on the environment. I hope the following paragraphs help answer some of the frequently asked questions you may have concerning recycling in Fillmore County. The more you recycle, the more material can be processed into new products.

By far, the most abundant fiber brought here to the recycling center is corrugated cardboard. The other fibers that should be recycled are newspapers and their inserts, junk mail, magazines, catalogs, phone books, box board, such as boxes from cereal, pasta, crackers, tissue paper, cake mixes, and pop, as well as computer paper, school papers, and shredded paper enclosed in a paper bag or cardboard box. These paper products are not meant to be burned or buried, they should be recycled. Your paper products should be kept clean and dry. Paper egg cartons, fridge packs, any boxes from frozen food, and soiled parts of take home pizza boxes are not recyclable.

We get a lot of plastic containers. Please rinse these out and throw away the caps of bottles. The caps melt at a different temperature and contaminate the useable plastic. Pop and water bottles are highly recyclable, but a very large percentage of them are still ending up in landfill. Margarine, Cool Whip, cottage cheese, and yogurt containers (#5) have unrecyclable additives in them and are not recyclable at this time, but most of these can be used for storage or given to churches to take extra food home after a meal is served. If your container has a 1 or a 2 in the “chasing arrows” symbol on the bottom, we want it. The amber pill bottle from the pharmacy should go to the landfill. Children’s toys, lawn furniture, PVC pipe, flower pots, and car parts, are not recyclable. Plastic grocery bags should be taken back to a store that collects them.

Most recyclable glass is in the form of bottles and jars. Rinse and remove the lids. The metal lids are also recyclable. All colors of glass are acceptable. We cannot recycle window panes, mirrors, drinking glasses, coffee mugs, incandescent light bulbs, canning jars, dishes, pyrex, or ceramics. They should go to landfill. For safety reasons, please inform your garbage hauler when there is broken glass in your landfill garbage.

Aluminum cans and clean aluminum foil make up a very small portion of our metal recyclables. Tin/steel cans far outnumber them. You don’t have to remove the label, just rinse them out. The entire can is recyclable. Do not flatten your steel cans. The machine in the Cities that separates the materials has been know to recognize a flattened can as corrugated cardboard and that is not good. This is the same machine that has a strong dislike for plastic bags. Larger pieces of metal containing copper, iron, steel, brass, or aluminum should be deposited in the large blue/black bin just outside the recycling building. Partially used aerosol cans should be brought to the recovery center during Household Hazardous Waste Day. Empty aerosol cans are landfill. Paint cans contalning dried out paint are landfill. Paint cans containing liquid are hazardous waste.

Recycling in Fillmore County is not impossible. It isn’t even difficult. It is rather easy and very necessary. Just cut this article out of the paper and keep it near your recycling bins so you can use it as a reference. You may also want to stop by the recycling booth at the fair and pick up a green single stream recycling guide. As always, if you have any questions on recycling, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at lpaulson@co.fillmore.mn.us We’ve got plenty of room here for your recyclables, so please feel free to add yours to our never ending supply.

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