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Mon, Oct. 18

Sedona Recycles offers primer on recycling do's and don'ts

The two most common errors made by the public are: placing an item in the wrong bin and placing a non-recyclable item in one of our bins. VVN file photo

The two most common errors made by the public are: placing an item in the wrong bin and placing a non-recyclable item in one of our bins. VVN file photo

Sedona Recycles has been faithfully serving the Village of Oak Creek for the past two decades. We have the dual mission of responsibly recycling resources and educating the public about recycling.

Both of these tasks are important and challenging. We rely on the public to bring their recyclables to one of the drop off sites listed on our website(sedonarecycles.org). We also rely on the public to read and follow the signs on the bins at those drop off sites.

Labor is the largest expense in our business, ten times more than any other expense. This is why it is so important for people to comply with the signage on our bins.

The two most common errors made by the public are: placing an item in the wrong bin and placing a non-recyclable item in one of our bins. Each of these errors must be corrected by someone on our staff sorting out the misplaced or non-recyclable items. Non-recyclable items must then be transported to the landfill.

We understand that people want to recycle as much as possible, but some packaging is simply not recyclable. There is only one factor that determines whether an item is recyclable, and that factor is whether there is a market for that item. If no one wants to buy that item and turn it into something new, then that item is going to the landfill.

There are no national rules for recycling. What works in one part of the country may not work in another part of the country.

Here in Sedona, we work very hard to find a domestic market for the items we accept.

But for some items, especially some plastics, this is not possible. On the bottom of most plastics is a “chasing arrows” triangle with a number 1 - 7. This number is from the manufacturer and it tells the recycler the type of resin used in the product.

This symbol does not mean the item is recyclable. Two different types of container can have the same number, but because they are molded differently and have different additives, one is recyclable and the other is not.

For example, a plastic water bottle with a #1 is recyclable, but a plastic “clam shell” that held the strawberries you purchased, also labeled #1, is not recyclable. This is why we need the public to read and follow the signs on our bins. When in doubt, don’t put the item in our bin.

Some packaging is a composite of multiple materials. Each of these materials may be recyclable individually, but when glued into a single walled container, they are not recyclable.

When a manufacturer glues cardboard, paper and foil together, they have produced a container that we cannot recycle.

Manufactures tell the consumer to recycle the packaging, perhaps to ease their conscience, but the package is not actually recyclable. Consumers want to lessen the impact of their consumption, so they attempt to recycle much of their packaging.

While this is commendable in general, often times this impulse just passes responsibility down the line. It would be helpful if all packaging were recyclable, but it is not.

Please visit our website to find more information about the materials we can accept, the materials we cannot accept, and where you can take some common household items for disposal. Thank you for using Sedona Recycles for your recycling needs.

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