The Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division gets over 80 tons of recyclables each day, and they want more but not everything.
“That is one of the downsides to single-stream. Single stream is a lot easier, there is only one container for all the recyclables,” Cema Wallace, the Program Education Specialist at the ACC Recycling Division says, “but sometimes that comes with people putting everything in the recycling bin and we always say ‘when in doubt throw it out.'”
Contamination with single-stream is a big problem in the recycling plant. There are a many things that people want to recycle but are not acceptable such as:
The most contamination comes from plastic bags or film plastic, styrofoam, and food. The Recycling Division does not want them.
“Film plastic does jam-up our machines and cause issues, especially in this facility that uses machines for sorting, which we do.” Wallace says.
The recycling plant’s main job is to separate all of the materials they receive. They do not clean any recyclables and they do not make anything new. If food is left in some containers it contaminates the whole plant and can bring insects, mice and even rats, so their advice is simply to rinse them out.
“Just inform yourself on what should and should not be recycled,” Wallace says, “but recyclable does make a difference in protecting our planet and slows down the time in takes to fill up a landfill.”
By Fernanda Perez