Garbage and recycling are hot topics lately. Not all countries have good solid waste practices and those that don’t are often riddled with disease and sickness. I am very thankful I live in a county that offers healthy, safe garbage and recycling services.
I recently witnessed an elderly gentleman try to recycle a sink top at the depot and realized that even the kindest, most well-meaning individuals can accidentally contaminate the recycle bins if they don’t understand the rules of what is allowed. Other times, laziness is the root cause of contaminating the bins. Recently, a family moved out of Warsaw and filled up two recycle dumpsters with their discards.
While this may have seemed convenient for them, my staff and I had to spend the morning sorting out this waste rather than doing more important work for the county. Dumping and recycling the wrong items in our bins devalues the recycling process and misallocates resources. Putting the wrong items in the bin has a cost that the community bears.
Let’s review the correct recyclables to place in recycle bins or to take to the recycling stations:
- Paper products: Office paper, junk mail, newspapers and magazines, cereal boxes, corrugated boxes; the only taboo paper products are food-contaminated paper and coated (waxed) paper/paperboard.
- Cans: Steel and aluminum, rinsed.
- Plastics: Containers and packages marked with a number 1-7; that said, no Styrofoam products or plastic bags are allowed in the bins. Bags may be recycled at most grocery stores. Look for the collection bin in the entrance.
- Glass: Bottles and jars, rinsed
That’s it. If it is not on this list, keep it out of the recycle bin. Here is a quick mantra: “when in doubt, leave it out.”
If you have an item that does not qualify for recycling, ask yourself some simple questions: Am I done with this item? Can I reuse this item? Can someone else use this item? Secondhand stores are great places to donate larger items that the depot cannot recycle.
Even when throwing things away, we have to be careful what items we put in our trash bins. Items that should not be placed in the trash bin include: electronics, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, paints and chemicals and sharps (needles). These items are all hazardous and should be recycled at a hazardous waste disposal facility like the KC Recycling Depot.
Hazardous materials in trash enter our waterways via the leachate created in the landfill. This is the key reason to keep these materials out of our trash cans. One caveat is latex paint. Latex paint is not classified as hazardous and may be placed in the trash can if it is solid. Our website has instructions on how to dry up latex paint.
Remember to, “recycle right and when in doubt, leave it out.” Put recyclables in the recycle bin, trash in the trash can and divert as much trash as possible. Although most citizens are conscientious and want to recycle the right way, there are those who continue dumping. If you witness a case of dumping, please report license plates or identifying information to the proper authorities. Contact the KC Recycling Depot at (574) 372-3087 with any questions, or check out our website.
Director, KC Recycling Depot