Checking first is key to recycling

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By Dede Allender

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of columns about how to recycle in Hancock County.

Recycling is a very confusing thing. Recyclable items are different in different areas of the country. Services available are different everywhere you go. So, how do you know how to recycle? My first response would be to check your local area for what recycling opportunities are available.

In Hancock County, we have a general policy that glass, paper, cardboard, metal and plastic (numbers 1-7, but not number 6) are recyclable. Number six is Styrofoam and is not recyclable in this area. All recycling must be clean and dry. We do not accept pizza boxes with stains or jars with food residue. These items could cause the entire load to be contaminated and sent to the landfill instead of the recycling center.

We have waste haulers that will provide curbside recycling service to anyone who wants it.

“But, I don’t want to pay extra in order to recycle,” is the excuse I get the most. But do you realize that in order to recycle, the waste haulers have to purchase and maintain a second fleet of trucks dedicated only to recycling? They may have to employ additional workers to collect the recycling. The recycling must be sorted before it is able to be recycled. All of these services cost money. There is no longer substantial income gained from selling these items  as there once was.

If you don’t want to pay for curbside recycling, you can find a public recycling bin for these items instead. Republic Services in Greenfield, offers free recycling at their office on Franklin Street. Waste Management in Morristown, offers free recycling at the landfill on U.S. Hwy 52 in Morristown. Newspaper is recyclable in a bin located behind the Daily Reporter. Plastic bags can be recycled at Kroger, Wal-Mart, Meijer, Needler’s and Kohl’s. There are a number of paper and cardboard bins located throughout the county at schools, churches and local businesses. A listing of these places is available on our website, www.recyclehancockcounty.com under the A-Z recycling tab.

Large bins for recycling paper and cardboard are located at the Purdue Extension office in Greenfield, and the Lion’s Club in New Palestine. These bins are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please remember to flatten all cardboard (even the small items like cereal boxes). This allows for more room in the bin for everyone’s items. Please do not leave boxes on the ground! If the bins are full, please return a different day. Leaving the boxes on the ground is considered illegal dumping and is forbidden. This is also the reason many bins have been removed throughout the county. So, if you like the service, don’t abuse it!

Dede Allender is director of the Hancock County Solid Waste Management District.