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Community recycling programs

Thank you communities of Lyon County! I believe that each and every one of us has been working hard on understanding what can be recycled and what cannot be recycled. A recycling program that is successful is dependent on residents taking the time to learn about their community recycling program.

Plastics remain the No. 1 confusing item for recyclers to know how to recycle. We have our new recycling list posted on the county website which is found at lyonco.org. Plastic is a vague term when it comes to recycling. Plastic food containers are more specific in name and are the only item made of plastic that should be going into your recycling cart, recycling roll off or recycling shed. Plastic food containers such as berry containers, juice containers, milk jugs, water bottles, yogurt tubs, butter tubs, pop bottles, vegetable oil containers and some of the clamshell containers are a few of the plastic food containers that residents can recycle. We can also recycle empty liquid laundry bottles and empty shampoo or hair conditioner bottles too. The plastic resin codes that we can recycle are 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7. These are the numbers that are found located within the recycling triangle logo.

Residents may wonder why we can’t recycle more items with the recycling logo on it or why certain items are simply not recyclable. If we dig deep into all of the different containers and materials that are out there, they are all potentially recyclable. However, they may not be accepted into any given recycling program.

After you place your recycling on the curb or drop it into the roll off or recycling shed, it is picked up by our contracted hauler. The hauler then takes the recyclables to a materials recovery facility (MRF) who will process it and then sell it to companies to make more plastic products or paper products. It is the MRF that pretty much determines what we can place into our recycling program. If they do not have a market to sell a certain item to, they don’t accept it and it more than likely will not be accepted into the recycling program.

A list of items that should never go into a recycling cart, roll off or shed include but are not limited to: Auto glass, ceramics, Christmas lights, clothes, coat hangers (wire or plastic), compostable plastics, diapers, dishware, drinking glasses, electronic waste (batteries, phones, etc.), extension cords, food waste and organic materials, garden hoses, glass bakeware, hazardous chemical containers, light bulbs, medical waste, microwave trays, mirror glass, motor oil, needles, packing peanuts, paper products with food residue, plastic bags and film, plastic tarps, plastic food wraps, porcelain, Styrofoam, syringes and window glass. Call us if you have questions about this list as there are a few things that can be reused elsewhere.

And finally, one item that has been recently removed from recycling is plastic shopping bags and film. Please refrain from not only bagging up recycled materials with a plastic trash bag but also do not place plastic shopping bags or film (including: produce bags, plastic shipping envelopes, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, case wrap, air pillows, bubble wrap, newspaper bags, food storage bags and product overwrap) into recycling carts, roll offs or sheds. These items can be brought back to the store for recycling.

When we are all working together on reducing waste, reusing what we can and recycling, we all win! Each individual working alone will not change much, but when each individual is added to all of the other residents who are recycling, together we can make a difference. So far this year, we have recycled over 1,200 tons of food containers, cardboard and paper. We have recycled over 2,200 mattresses and 450 car seats! We have also recycled over 900 television and computer monitors. And, we have been able to recycle and refurbish over 80 computers!

For more information on the landfill, household hazardous waste, parks or recycling, please call the Lyon County Environmental Department at 507-532-8210.

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