The dos and the don'ts: How to recycle properly in Kentucky

RecyclingMonster - You recycle, and that's a good thing. But whether you do it curbside or take loads to a drop-off center, the way you handle your items is key.

And that's especially true at a time when market pressures are demanding the stuff we send down the line is of the highest quality.

Here's a list of recommendations from Metro Louisville, materials handlers WestRockand Rumpke, and hauling companies serving the region:

  •  Don't bundle in bags. If you have curbside service in Louisville or nearby areas, single stream means leaving items loose. Put clean, dry items into your bin. Grocery sacks and can liners can get hung up in the equipment at sorting facilities. Optical scanners often can't see through the plastic bag, so recoverable items can end up in the trash.
  • Avoid single-use bags at the grocery. If you bring some home, return them to the store's collection spot. And make a habit of carrying groceries home in reusable bags.
  • Flatten cardboard boxes, newsprint and junk mail, and keep the paper from getting wet or soiled.

  • Glass should be rinsed, with caps removed. Try to avoid breaking bottles and jars because pieces can tear up and lodge in other recyclables.

  • Avoid fouling up clean recycling, such as dropping a cigarette butt down a bottle or putting needle sticks into a plastic container. Once an item is soiled, it's garbage.  

  • Watch your hauler's instructions on plastics. They're not the same everywhere in the region. If you're inside the urban services district (the old Louisville city boundaries) or your hauler is ecotech or Republic Services, your bin contents go to WestRock, where you can send empty plastic bottles, lettuce clam shell containers and yogurt cups. Replace bottle lids before dropping in the bin. Rumpke accepts only plastic bottles with necks.

  • Contamination in the bin is a no-no. No food scraps, batteries, yard waste, greasy pizza box lids (recycle the clean parts), Styrofoam, wet paper towels, diapers of any kind, clothing, shoes, toys, diabetic lancets, metal tools, nails and construction debris. Donate tools if they're in usable condition.

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