The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has launched a campaign to reduce recycling contamination, protect worker safety, and improve the value of Vermont’s recyclables.
The agency, along with the Chittenden Solid Waste District and Casella Waste Systems, has identified the top four contaminants at recycling facilities. These items don’t belong in blue recycling bins: plastic bags, batteries and electronics, food-contaminated recyclables, and scrap metal.
“We want Vermonters to know that when their recyclables arrive at the facilities, workers need to sort it. When the wrong things end up in the recycling bin, it makes the sorting gross or dangerous. Plastic bags, and other tanglers like rope, get caught in the rotors and cause the machines to stop or break down. Then someone has to climb in and cut them out,” says Cathy Jamieson, solid waste program manager with the Department of Environmental Conservation. “And that half-full bottle of soda will spill onto the paper and cardboard, ruining the chance for them to be recycled into new paper products.”
Other recycling tips:
• Leave recyclables loose in bins; do not bag them.
• Recycle plastic bags separately at many grocery, hardware stores. Find a location at plasticfilmrecycling.org.
• Recycle electronics for free. Find a location at vtecycles.com.
• Batteries and cell phones can be recycled. Find locations at call2reycle.org/Vermont.
The agency has created recycling video messages to share on social and mass media. Find them at vtrecycles.com.