2012-07-19 / Letters

Recycling Rules Reviewed

To the Editor

Have you ever arrived at one of the four recycling bins (located at Forbes Road High School, the Bethel Township building, the old Thompson Township building and in the Courthouse Annex 1 parking lot in McConnellsburg) only to find it full? It can be very frustrating, but each bin must be full, completely full, before it can be “pulled” and replaced with an empty bin. Unfortunately, someone is going to be stuck with a full bin, there’s no way around it.

However, there are ways to make a recycling bin last as long as possible before it’s full, and to make it easier to get your material in the bin. One of the reasons that the bins fill up quickly is that not everyone is recycling the proper material, nor preparing the material to minimize the space it takes up. Here are a few reminders to make everyone’s recycling experience more pleasant.

All cardboard boxes must be broken down (flattened), even the one you haul the rest of the cardboard in. Please do not place any cardboard boxes in the bin that are not flattened – that includes shoeboxes, case beer boxes, shipping boxes, etc. All boxes must be flattened. Also, the cardboard must be clean and unwaxed. So, no greasy pizza boxes and no waxed produce boxes.

Our recycling program does not accept plastic bags of any type. If you carry your recyclables in a plastic garbage bag, please empty out the bag and take the bag back home. Do not place recyclables in the bin while they are still in the plastic bag. One, the bag is not recyclable, and two, a bag full of recyclables takes up way too much space. Plastic grocery bags are not accepted either – do not place them in the bin (take to Giant Food – but grocery bags only).

All plastics are not the same, and having a little “chasing arrow” symbol on the bottom does not mean the plastic item is recyclable. The only plastic items that are accepted in our program have a neck (opening) narrower than the base. In other words, it needs to look like a bottle or a jug. No other plastic is accepted – that means no “clam shell” containers, no Styrofoam, no yogurt containers, no plastic wrap, no bubble wrap, no plastic trays, no plastic toys, no plastic buckets, no plastic cups, no plastic bags, no plastic hangers, no plastic pet food bags, no plastic feed sacks, etc. If it doesn’t look like a bottle or a jug – leave it out!!

While we don’t have too much trouble with glass, the recycling program only takes glass bottles and jars. Just like plastics, all glass is not the same either. The recycling program does not accept window glass, mirrors, plate glass, decorative glass, drinking glasses, light bulbs, broken glass, glass candles, ceramic dishes, etc. Please throw that material away, it’s a contaminant in our recycling bin.

Speaking of leaving – please do not leave any material on the ground outside of the bin. That includes recyclables. Material left on the ground is considered dumping – all recyclables must be placed in the bin. If you can’t make space for your recyclables (check all bin doors), please take them home and bring back another time. If the bin is that full, it will be switched out soon.

Of course, it should go without saying that garbage is not to be placed in the recycling bin. But, dirty diapers and bags of household garbage are still finding their way into the recycling bins. This is harmful to us all, as too much contaminant in the bin over time could lead to the removal of the recycling bin from that site (which has happened in the past).

While recycling can save on your solid waste bill, it also generates jobs and revenue in Pennsylvania. Recycling saves valuable resources and allows us to use them again. But, a successful recycling program requires the cooperation of everyone. We have to prepare the material properly, only place acceptable material in the bins, place all recyclables inside the bin, and accept that sometimes the bins will be full and we either carefully make room, or bring the recyclables back after the bin is switched out. A full bin does not mean that someone is not doing their job, it means the recycling program is working and that citizens are doing their part. Again, we can’t have an empty bin until we first have a completely full bin.

If you have questions about what material is or is not accepted in the Fulton County Recycling program, please call 717-485-3547, x120.

Greg Reineke

Fulton County

Recycling Coordinator

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