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Residental waste increases, but what belongs in the recycling bin

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When COVID-19 forced restaurants to shut their doors, many turned to take-out and curbside options. Well, that meant sending customers home with more trash then they were dealing with before. Then factoring in more grocery visits, that all ultimately is added to the waste pile.

Green Circle Recycling, owned by Harters in La Crosse, has reported a 30 percent increase industry-wide, from residential waste/recycling. But many commercial sites, like bars and restaurants, are down.

But the problem that is posed upon the recycling companies when commodities increases, is that there is more work to pull out what does not belong in your bin.

Most recycling centers, like Green Circle Recycling, allow for you to mix all your recyclables. This has made recycling more apealing to those that once had to seperate their own recyclables. As the industry has expanded, most plants now have machinery that is able to sort through the recyclables.

The recyclables that the machines can detect and that belong in a recycling center are anything metal, paper (not shredded, does not include plastic), glass, and certain plastics. Most plastic food containers can go in the recycling, as well as any plastics that include the numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5. If it does not have a number or is not a food container, it likely belongs in the trash.

One of the biggest problems that recycling centers deal with is plastics bags and other plastics that don't belong in recycling.

Matt Harter from Green Circle Recycling states "Plastic bags are a real issue in our plant. They should not be in the recycling and if it goes into the recycling plant it contaminates other clean material and there's no value to it. In the end, it ends up driving up the cost of recycling making it more burdensome for everyone to use the recycling system because it becomes more costly and it's less effective"

Another common misconception of recycling is food contaminated containers, like grease that has soaked into your pizza box. These do not belong in recycling like food, in general, does not go into recycling. So, anything with food needs to be toss or risned before it can enter the recycling process.

If you can make sure to double-check what is entering your bin when recycling this will allow for there to be a cleaner recycling process. Which would then lead to a cheaper bill from recycling for residents. But most importantly more recyclables will get recycled into something else, instead of making more waste!

If you are looking for more information on recycling or what belongs in your bin, especially if you recycling with Harter's, click here ->Harters Green Circle Recycling

Alyssa Triplett

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