Councilman Mike Elam's Blog

Nov 29

[ARCHIVED] Recycling Confusion

The original item was published from November 29, 2018 4:09 PM to December 6, 2018 11:41 AM


Major changes to the recycling industry have caused confusion — not only locally, butreduce_reuse_recycle1 nationally. Many hauling companies have restructured their curbside collections as a result of these changes by raising fees, eliminating single-stream collections and/or banning certain items.

Why Continue Recycling?

Even with these changes, it’s important to remember that recycling provides many benefits for our community. Production, distribution and consumption of new products require a large amount of energy and deplete the amount of raw materials available in the future. Since approximately 80 percent of what is used every day is recyclable, recycling gives new life to current resources and reduces unnecessary waste. Along with processing recyclable materials, unwanted products can be refurbished and resold, and extra parts can be used to repair broken goods.

Steps to Continue Recycling

Despite the changes, the Division of Environmental Health and Protection encourages residents to continue their recycling process. Following are tips from staff:

Work within the Requirements of the Recycling Industry

If you’re continuing curbside collection, follow the instruction of your local hauler or municipality. If your current hauler no longer accepts certain material, look for other providers that do accept that item. Here are some of the items accepted at the County’s Recycle Works locations:

  • Paper (clean and dry products)
  • Cardboard (clean and dry products)
  • Selected metals (aluminum and tin products)
  • Plastic (no loose bags, vinyl or PVC piping)
  • Glass (only accepted at Recycle Works West)
  • Electronics, computer products, appliances and light bulbs
  • Household Hazardous Waste (chemicals, cleaning supplies, automobile fluids, etc.)

Avoid Contamination

Contaminated products are one of the biggest issues the recycling industry, reducing acceptable materials, slowing the process and raising costs. To avoid contamination:

  • Keep materials separate by dividing them into different containers for metals, glass, paper, plastic, etc.
  • Wash or rinse materials before putting them into recycling containers.
  • Discard any items contaminated by food products, such as pizza boxes and fast-food wrappers.
  • Look for the number on plastic items and consult with your provider as to which type(s) they do accept.
  • Do not recycle individual plastic bags. Return plastic bags to the grocery store or similar collections.
Where to Recycle in St. Charles County?

Along with curbside collections, the Division of Environmental Health and Protection operates two Recycle Works locations that collect a wide variety of material from St. Charles County residents. Recycle Works Central is located at 60 Triad South Drive in St. Charles, and Recycle Works West is located at 2110 East Pitman Avenue in Wentzville. These convenient drop-off locations accept most items at little or no cost to residents. The locations are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, except holidays.

For more information on recycling in St. Charles County, please call 636-949-1800.

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