By JUDI SWOGGER
NEWS On the Green
Rejoice! The days of squinting and searching out the number on a piece of plastic you want to recycle are over.
It doesn’t matter what number is listed inside that little “chasing arrows” recycling symbol found on many plastic items. All you have to remember now is that the following are accepted for recycling at all of Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District’s drop-off sites – including the Brookfield Township site located next to the fire station on Route 7:
“It’s a new way of understanding collection,” said Jennifer Jones, director of the waste management district, on July 13. ”Rather than numbers, we classify by type of item.”
“The idea is to make recycling as easy as possible,” she said, during the public Zoom meeting, “What to Recycle,” hosted by the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library. “Recycling has always been about convenience.”
So, if a bottle is made of metal, glass or plastic, it’s recyclable. Ditto with jugs and jars. Still, that leaves out many items that you may have been placing inside a recycling bin.
“We can’t recycle plastic bags or plastic film,” Jones said. Neither can they recycle takeout containers – foam or plastic – from a restaurant; plastic cups; cartons – such as those filled with juice or milk (“Those are paper covered in plastic”); nor tubs, such as those that hold butter, cottage cheese or yogurt.
Part of the reason is that the process to recycle plastic is, in itself, challenging.
“How to recycle a #1 water bottle is different from a #1 strawberry ‘clamshell’ (container),” Jones said. “We have to sell those two kinds of plastic separately.”
While “pretty much everything is recyclable,” she said, the challenge is to do it economically. “We accept things we can easily and quickly re-sell.”
The agency spends three quarters of a million dollars recycling the items it collects and dealing with the items dropped off in its bins that it cannot recycle, Jones said.
One of the biggest problems found in its collection bins is plastic bags.
“The bag jams up our machine,” Jones said. “It’s time consuming and expensive to remove it, and potentially dangerous to our workers.”
The agency is putting together an “Anti-Contamination Project,” to let people know what does and does not belong in the recycle bins.
Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District is tasked by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to “keep as much out of landfills as possible,” said Jennifer Jones, director of the bi-county agency, particularly “nasty things” such as chemicals and electronics.
To that end, the district operates collection facilities in Geauga and Trumbull County, which are open to residents of either county. The Trumbull location – at 5138 Enterprise Blvd. NW, Warren — accepts electronics and appliances year-round and hazardous wastes April through October.
Among the items accepted are:
- Electronics, such as TVs, CD players, vacuums and anything else that plugs in
- Appliances with and without freon, such as microwave ovens, freezers, refrigerators, dehumidifiers and air conditioning units
- Hazardous wastes, such as batteries (from watch- to car-size) and including rechargeables, used oil, oil-based paints, fluorescent lights, solvents, gasoline, pesticides, herbicides, and cleaners
- Tires – The next collection in Brookfield will be from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 1, at the township road department, 774 State Route 7 NE.
Jones welcomes calls from those with recycling questions, and the district also is “revamping” its website, adding “an alphabetical list of 80-some, frequently-asked-about items that will tell you local options of where to take (them).”
“If it’s not on the list,” she said, “give us a call and we’ll help you find out what to do with it.”
The update to the currently operational website, which can be found at: http://startrecycling.com/, is expected to be finished by September.
Appliances and electronic waste can be dropped off at the Enterprise Boulevard site between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Hazardous wastes are collected between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesdays only, through Oct. 26.
This year’s remaining special waste collection Saturdays — for household hazardous wastes, electronics and appliances — are scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 10 and Oct. 1.
The number to reach the waste management district is: 330-675-2673, or toll free at 800-707-2673.