Dave and Helen go one-on-one for a "Recycling Smackdown"! Betty Shelley of Metro Recycling Information referereed! Here are some more tips...
Demystifying curbside recycling
In the Portland metropolitan area, an effective recycling system keeps usable materials out of the landfill and helps ensure that what we put in our recycling carts gets properly recycled. The system works when we all do our part.
Metro's Betty Shelley helps demystify curbside recycling - what goes in, what stays out, and why.
RECYCLABLES SORTED BY HAND AND BY MACHINE
There are good reasons why some things cannot be recycled curbside. We "commingle," or mix together, the materials we put into our recycling carts. When the materials arrive at the sorting facility, they are separated using a combination of automated machine-sorting followed by hand-sorting.
In order for the machines to work effectively, certain types of materials need to be kept out of our curbside carts, even though they may seem to be similar to items that are allowed. Here are a few examples:
NO PLASTIC BAGS
Plastic bags are a big no-no for curbside recycling. They get caught in the mechanical sorting screens and cause the sorting lines to be shut down several times a day so that workers can cut the bags out. Take them to stores and recycling depots that accept plastic bags, shrink wrap and other types of stretchy plastic.
NO PLASTIC LIDS
Why are yogurt and margarine tubs allowed in our curbside carts but not the lids? Lids end up getting trapped between paper and cardboard at the sorting facilities. That means that paper loads shipped to paper mills can have plastic mixed in, which can make the whole load unusable.
NO "CLAM SHELL" OR TAKE-OUT CONTAINERS
These are not allowed in the curbside recycling program, but they are accepted at some stores and recycling depots. Why? Hauling companies only pick up materials that have a strong and reliable market. Recycling depots that do accept these materials can hold onto them until they have sufficient qualities and the value of these materials makes it cost-effective to recycle them.
BE A RECYCLING CHAMPION
Read the sticker on the top of your recycling cart.
Contact your local government for specific information about your city's curbside program.
Watch the Saving Little Pieces of Our Earth video on Metro's website to learn how the recycling process works.
Read Metro's Reduce Reuse Recycle brochure.
Call the experts at Metro Recycling Information, 503-234-3000