Clean recycling even more important during COVID-19 pandemic

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HAZELWOOD, MO – Sunday, November 15 was America Recycles Day, a nationwide initiative to raise awareness about recycling. Experts in the field said recycling is important more than ever during the current COVID-19 crisis.

Recycled materials can help produce things particularly needed right now, such as paper towels, sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, and boxes for shipping.

However, how residents recycle their material is key.

Brent Batliner, General Manager of Republic Services said a major problem for recycling is contamination. About 19 percent of recyclable materials that show up from residential neighborhoods to Republic Services’ recycling center located in Hazelwood is contaminated.

“There’s a problem with residents putting recyclable materials in plastic bags, which cannot be processed through the company’s machinery”, said Batliner. “Tanglers; things like, garden hoses, Christmas lights, hangers, anything that can wrap around our machinery does not belong in your single stream recycling”.

Contaminated materials can slow the recycling process, or even cause the whole ton of otherwise recyclable material to end up in a landfill. 

Batliner said customers who want to recycle should focus on the six main items; clean paper, cardboard, plastic containers, metal containers, food cartons, and glass bottles. Bags and other loose plastics wrap can create mechanical downtime and hazards for employees to cut them off the conveyor lines.

He also stresses residents must be informed recyclers, especially now. Materials put in recycling containers should be empty, clean, and dry.

To figure out what can and cannot be recycled and how to properly dispose of materials click here.

Republic Services Recycling Center Tour

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