This article was first published in The Viking News, February 25, 2004 (Volume 73, No. 3), a bi-weekly publication of the State University of New York, Westchester Community College.
By Taffy Lee Williams
Westchester County's Department of Environmental Facilities, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, has put together a guide to recycling called the "Quick Recycling Reference."
On campus or at home, the guide will provide helpful information for the proper disposal of recyclable or unwanted items.
The guide also indicates which items are recyclable and which are not and how to dispose of them properly, as follows:
In the paper category, newspapers, including glossy inserts, magazines, phone books and junk mail should be placed either in brown paper bags, loose in the recycle bin or bundled together and tied with twine. Paper items should not be placed in plastic bags. Paperback or hardcover books should be given to a library, school or other charity, not placed in the recycle bin.
Commingled products include plastic, glass, and aluminum products. Clear, green or brown glass bottles for beverages or food products are recyclable. Plastic caps or lids must be removed and placed in the trash. Metal cans and metal tops can be placed in commingle bins along with other plastic and metal containers.
Clean aluminum foil and trays, empty aerosol cans (labels do not need to be removed) should be placed in the commingled receptacles as well.
Clear or colored plastic containers for beverages, food, shampoos, household cleaners or detergents with a code of 1 or 2 only should be rinsed out and placed in the commingled containers.
Corrugated cardboard, brown paper bags or boxes for mailing can be recycled after excessive amounts of tape are removed. Boxes should be flattened and put together in one box. Many paper bags should be placed inside another brown bag.
Today there is an increasing demand for recycled paper and commingled materials. However, at the present time, there is no market for plastic materials that are coded 3, 4, 5 or 6. Likewise, there is no market for the gray cardboard products that some cereal, pizza and tissue boxes are made of. Therefore these are not yet recyclable. A use for these materials may develop in the future but at the moment, if thrown in recycling bins, these items must be separated by hand at the recycling facility. So until further notice, place plastics or containers with a 3, 4, 5 or 6, or gray cardboard products in the regular garbage.
Household glass items, such as mirrors, light bulbs or window glass, are not recyclable and should be thrown into the garbage also. And remember: never recycle household medical waste!
The recycling industry has surprised even its biggest skeptics by generating over 1.1 million non-exportable US jobs in more than 56,000 facilities nationwide. What is fast becoming a major US industry is providing environmentally friendly positions in an economy that has lost or exported over 3 million jobs since 2000. This is all because people everywhere are doing their part to support the new industry by recycling their garbage properly.
For more information call 914-813-5420 or visit http://www.westchestergov.com/envfacil/pdffiles/quickrecycling.pdf.
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