Arlington Curbside Recycling Tips: When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
By Office of Communication
Posted on July 05, 2018, July 05, 2018


When in doubt, throw it out. Most of us have heard this phrase where it pertains to expired milk in your fridge or some other food that's been sitting in your pantry past its best by date. This phrase also comes in handy when dealing with your curbside recycling.

Every day, our local recycling centers are inundated with non-recyclable items that must be manually picked out of the recycling stream to avoid contaminating clean materials. Some of the more frequent offenders include garden hoses, dirty diapers, Styrofoam, food, coat hangers, clothing, wood and hazardous materials such as syringes, paints, batteries and oils.

While people may have had the best intentions by trying to recycle such items, these types of contaminants can wreak havoc on recycling equipment, often causing jams and malfunctions and present a safety issue to hand sorters. With the recent implementation of the China import restrictions on contaminated recycling loads, our recycling centers are having to take extra measures to produce clean pallets of recyclables for resale. Recycling facilities are now slowing sorting lines and hiring additional staff to pull out items that make it into the recycle stream that could potentially work their way into a clean pallet.

A recent article by Resource Recycling provides a detailed timeline of national Sword import regulations. With these strict import regulations, our recycling centers count on you to know what to throw away and what to recycle.

Here's some handy recycling tips

  • Study your recycling cart's "Yes and No" label if in doubt. If the item is not pictured under the "Yes" section, do not place it in your recycling cart.
  • Talk with other members in your household and help spread recycling awareness.
  • Make sure all food residue has been scraped out of plastic containers.
  • Keep plastic films such as dry cleaner bags out of your cart.
  • Plastic grocery bags are accepted in our curbside program. Just place all bags into one and tie that one shut to help prevent them from blowing out away during servicing.
  • Make sure your pizza boxes are free from food and grease.
  • Keep the top of your cart closed, especially on rainy days, to keep materials dry.

Working together we can all do our part to help our recycling centers keep contamination rates low and ensure a high quality palletized product.

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