Republic Services, Parma’s current contract-holder for waste disposal services, reported to Parma City Council that up to 40% of the recycling it collects must be diverted to a landfill. Unfortunately, that means that contaminated loads of recycling must be double-handled and then transported again to landfill making it all the more wasteful.

Now that we are in 2020, it’s time to start recycling properly. We would all agree it would be better that our waste be recycled than to pile up in landfills until our planet looks like that in Disney/Pixar’s Wall-E.

The sorting process utilizes various methods to separate materials properly. This includes magnets, fans, conveyors, and hand-sorting. Contaminants add time to the process and have the potential to damage equipment or could injure employees. 

This link shows the process of sorting and how Republic in Oberlin deals with contaminants. 

Cuyahoga County recommends going back to the basics of recycling. They recommend five core items that should be in your recycling: cans, cartons, glass bottles and jars, paper and boxes plus plastic bottles and jugs.

A link explaining what can and cannot be recycled in your local area can be found here.  

List of some acceptable items for recycling:

  • Aluminum Cans
  • Cardboard
  • Glass Bottles
  • Paper
  • Steel Cans

List of some unacceptable items for curbside recycling: 

  • Aerosol Spray Cans
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Plastic Bags (but you can take these to many local grocery stores for recycling) 
  • Styrofoam Containers
  • Shredded Paper
  • Tissue Paper
  • Wax-coated Cardboard
  • Tires
  • Batteries
  • Electrical Cords (take them to Best Buy for recycling instead!)
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Coat Hangers

Recycling Best Practices: 

  • Break down cardboard boxes
  • Do not place items in plastic bags
  • Do not place items inside boxes
  • Electronics (TVs, computers, ink, cords etc) can be recycled at Best Buy and Staples
  • Plastic bags can be taken to many local grocery stores for recycling
  • Clean items containing residue
  • When in doubt, Google it

Just because Republic can’t recycle something in your curbside recycling doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled. Here are some ways you can go the extra mile:  

  • Separate aluminum can pop tabs and donate them to the Ronald McDonald House
  • Paper can be collected separately and recycled in paper collection bins found at many local schools. These provide greater efficiency in recycling, reducing waste diverted to landfills. 
  • Take old clothes to Good Will or the Salvation Army or drop off at Planet Aid and Special Olympics bins around town. Sell or donate old furniture and other items as well.
  • Before recycling, ask yourself if you or someone else may have a use for it. 

By: Danny Taylor, YPOP Leadership Council 

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