Success is a wonderful thing and area residents should be ecstatic with the triumphant return of recycling to Idaho County, However, this is just the beginning of the program which is dependent on continued participation. Due to the infancy of Idaho County Recycling, there have been many questions as we all learn or re-learn recycling techniques. Perhaps if we consider the local collection sites as the first station of a long journey, it will be easier to visualize and conform to new recycling guidelines. All our recyclables are mini-travelers (minus the luggage!) that will pass through other ports and be handled by other attendants before reaching various destinations. As with any journey, these travelers should be clean and appropriately packed for the trip. Here is the “ticket” to help get our recyclables from here to the market.
CANS Aluminum and tin/steel cans may be co-mingled but ALL cans should be thoroughly rinsed and have the lids removed or secured inside to protect the next journeymen from residual goo and injury. Labels should also be removed. Undesirable ash is created when the paper ignites during the intense processing heat at the steel mills.
PLASTICS Because plastics are shredded at the end of their journey, labels may be left attached. Caps and lids must be removed to ensure the containers are free of content and to prevent injuries and mechanical problems further up the line. (Imagine the nightmare created by guideline for #1-7 plastics (except black) is: THE OPENING MUST BE SMALLER THAN THE BASE. Resins used for shape and strength in some plastics are incompatible for recycling. Please note that aerosol cans and any containers used for poisonous compounds cannot be recycled for safety reasons.
PAPER This is a general lump-it-together category which includes newspapers (with inclusions), catalogs, phone books, magazines and paperback books. Office paper (white, colored, envelopes and discarded mail), which has a separate market, should be placed in a paper bag with the top folder over. And Please! No paper towels, napkins or tissue.
CARDBOARD This includes any empty, non-waxed boxes (with plastic liners removed), paper sacks, corrugated and liner cardboard, shoe boxes and the cores from paper towels and toilet tissue.
To maximize limited space at homes, businesses and the collection sites, all recyclables should be crushed or flattened and sorted into recycling containers such as plastic bins, cardboard boxes or paper bags. The use of plastic bags is discouraged except for shredded paper.
Last month, nearly 7 tons of “stuff” was diverted from the “waste stream” in Idaho County. Cans, plastics, paper and cardboard are just trash until we escort them to a collection site where they will begin a new career path as secondary consumer products.
The weather cooperated. The people cooperated. Last weekend was another successful round of recycling in Idaho County with a dramatic increase of participants and tonnage. The events were facilitated by the continuing commitment of Lewis-Clark Recyclers and a cadre of enthusiastic volunteers.
For the Camas Prairie site at the Fenn grain elevators, 13,540 pounds of recyclables were collected with a 30% increase in volume, thanks to the patronage from individuals and businesses, including Cottonwood and Grangeville schools. At the Kooskia facility, serving the populace of Clearwater Valley, nearly 5,000 pounds of cans, plastics, paper and cardboard were collected. The 50% increase in participation there was especially notable since most were new recyclers.
The Idaho County Recycling Committee is thrilled that area residents are supporting the new program with such wide-spread involvement. “When nine tons of recyclable materials are kept out of the landfill, that’s good news!” exclaimed ICR chairwoman, Janie Fluharty.
For additional recycling information, call 926-7231, 983-2821, 983-2843 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The next recycling dates are Dec. 26 at Fenn and Dec. 27 in Kooskia.