April 22, 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. It also falls on a Wednesday, which means Garbage Day in our neighborhood, and a good time to review the guidelines for recycling.
In Redding, all blue-bin recycling collected curbside is taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Transfer Station, and is sorted along a conveyor belt, by hand. According to City of Redding Public Works Supervisor Christina Piles, this essential job has continued throughout the Covid-19 Crisis, but they’ve put in place extra safety measures, including better distancing between workers, and slower processing.
Keeping in mind those workers who continue to sort our trash during a pandemic, it’s a good idea to review the contaminant lists provided by our sanitation services. There are many items we all think should be recycled, but unfortunately aren’t always. By contaminating recycle bins with these items, we are passing the problem on for someone else to cull out. Solid Waste drivers are trained to observe the bins as they are being dumped into their trucks, and if they see too many contaminants, an entire truckload may be diverted to the landfill. In other words, one bad recycler can spoil the bunch.
In Redding, the items allowed for curbside recycling are straightforward: glass bottles, plastic bottles, plastic milk jugs, laundry detergent jugs, clean metal cans, office paper and junk mail, magazines, phone books, cereal and cracker boxes—without the inner liners, and cardboard.
There are an additional four categories of plastic that are not allowed in the blue bins, but are accepted for drop off at the recycling area of the Redding Transfer Station: Hard plastic, like toy boxes or plastic bins; #5 plastic containers; #6 rigid styrofoam; and clean, light colored or clear plastic bags.
The list of items that are not recyclable in the City of Redding is much longer: Pizza boxes, shredded paper, napkins, tissues, paper towels, cartons of milk, juice, soup, or ice cream, yogurt, sour cream or similar shaped containers, clear plastic clam shell containers, microwave meal trays, styrofoam, plastic bags, plastic liners and plastic film, aluminum foil, aluminum pie plates or food trays, dog or cat food bags, window glass, drinking glasses, flower vases, ceramic or china dishes, pyrex, light bulbs, hardbound or softbound books, plastic toys, buckets, containers that held motor oil, automotive products, pesticides, paint, scrap metal, pots and pans, pipes, chains, aluminum pet food cans, green waste, Christmas tree lights, garden hoses, PVC pipe, clothing, blankets, towels, furniture, e-waste,
Please take time to go on line for more guidance on recycling in your area. For rural areas, the list of recyclables is longer, but how and if they sort those items, and whether there is even a market for them, is an unanswered question.
Jenny Abbe, Member, DCCSC-Dist 5