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Recycling 101

Fri, Apr 9th, 2010
Posted in Health & Wellness

Each county in Minnesota has its own recycling guidelines. That is why your brother in Brown County or your aunt in Itasca County recycles somewhat differently than you do here in Fillmore 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 waste you can recycle correctly, the less negative impact you will have on the environment. I hope that the following information helps answer some of the frequently asked questions you may have concerning recycling in Fillmore County. I will go into more detail in future articles as to why some things are recyclable while others are not, as well as how they are processed and become new products.

PAPER. I know some of you are tired of me saying that if it looks like paper, feels like paper, smells like paper, and tastes like paper, it is most likely a form of paper and is recyclable. 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, egg cartons, catalogs, phone books, box board (cereal, pasta, cracker, pizza, tissue, cake, pop), computer paper, school papers, and shredded paper enclosed in a paper bag or cardboard box. These paper products are not meant to be burned, they should be recycled. Please keep your fibers clean and dry.

PLASTIC. Please rinse the containers out. If it has a neck or a handle and/or has a 1 or a 2 in the recycling emblem on the bottom, we want it. We don't want the caps. They 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 starting seeds for the garden, by child care or schools for storage, or given to churches to take extra food home after a meal is served.

GLASS. Most recyclable glass is in the form of bottles and jars. Rinse and remove 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 belong in the landfill. For safety reasons, please inform your garbage hauler when there is broken glass in your landfill garbage.

METAL. Aluminum cans and clean aluminum foil make up a very small portion of our metal recyclables. However, tin/steel cans far outnumber them. You don't have to remove the label, just rinse them out. To save space in your bin, you can cut the bottom off and flatten them, but that is not necessary. The entire can, including the ends, is recyclable. Larger pieces of metal containing copper, iron, steel, brass, or aluminums should be deposited in the large blue bin just outside the recycling building. Partially used aerosol cans should be brought to the recovery center during hazardous household waste day. Empty aerosol cans are landfill. Paint cans containing 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 out of the paper and keep it near your recycling bins so you can use it as a reference. As always, if you have any questions on recycling, don't hesitate to e-mail me at We've got plenty of room here for your recyclables, so please don't hesitate to add yours to our never ending supply.

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