Contamination of a Recycling Drop Box

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Auxier Recycling Dropoff Trash


Contamination of a Recycling Drop Box

Knowing what is acceptable in a recycling drop box is critical to ensuring the success of the recycling process.  Putting the wrong materials into the recycling drop boxes may ruin the entire batch.  The material in a recycling container is taken to a material recovery facility (MRF), where the material is separated and processed for selling to companies that buy recycled materials for making products.  The higher the quality of the recycled material, the more the companies will want to buy it and the higher the price they will pay for it.

However, when you put materials into the recycle bin that shouldn’t be there, you may (at the very least) be slowing down the entire recycling process.  Here’s what can happen when you put the wrong things in the recycle bin:

  • Machines that handle the sorting of the materials can be damaged, which means that precious time, energy and money will be need to repair the machines.

  • If the equipment cannot sort the material that should not be in the recycling drop box then workers have to sort the materials by hand to take out what is not recyclable.  When there is more material in the recycling drop box that should not be there it makes the job far more difficult and inefficient for the workers sorting the material by hand, thereby adding to the cost of the recycling process.

  • Materials that are not acceptable in the recycling drop boxes may also inhibit the materials that are in the boxes from being turned into the highest quality materials possible.  Those materials that are not acceptable in the recycling drop boxes could even send everything in the bin straight to the landfill.  Just like the old saying goes “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch”.

     

  • If the cost to recycle increases, the recycling company will likely pass this cost on to the consumer, whether it’s the resident or city paying for curbside recycling, or the Solid Waste District that provides drop off centers.

There are a lot of things that are recyclable but only a few can be recycled in our drop-off box program.  Signs are placed on each drop-off box to help people understand what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.  Please help us maintain the program by limiting your efforts to the identified items that are listed on the drop-off boxes.  We will try to expand the materials that are accepted.   

In the next several months we will be posting articles of acceptable and not acceptable material.  Please check back with us for our next article.


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