This Green Moment is an update on some of the accepted recycling items for weekly pick up. The information is coming from Adalid Ponce of Recycle America in Grayslake, where items picked up by Advanced Disposal in Northbrook are taken. There, the items are sorted, baled, and sold to domestic recycling plants.
Recycle America accepts plastics 1,2,4, and 5. You can find these numbers on the bottom of plastic containers.
Plastic 1, polyethylene terephthalate or PETE or PET, is usually clear in color and is the most common container. It is used for disposable beverage and food containers and bottles. It is also used for household cleaning product containers.
Plastic 2, HDPE or high-density polyethylene, is commonly used for milk jugs, detergent and juice bottles, butter tubs and some toiletries. It is usually opaque in color.
Plastic 4, low – density polyethylene, LDPE, is a tricky one. This is what is used for bags and wraps that are not accepted. However, it is also used for squeezable bottles and some water bottles which are accepted. To know what to do with your product, think about whether or not it can tangle equipment.
Plastic 5, PP or polypropylene, is commonly used in yogurt cups, and medicine and ketchup bottles. Many coffee “K” cups are also made of this plastic and are, thus, recyclable.
Currently, according to Mr. Ponce, these are the only accepted plastics. Now as far as the cap confusion. Mr. Ponce said that if the plastic caps are left on the containers, they can be recycled. If the caps are off the containers, they must be larger than a half dollar to be recycled. Think olio tub lids, not water bottle caps.
Mr. Ponce said he is not currently accepting cartons, such as milk or juice cartons. I hope to find more information on this and report back. These are such common items that we hope they should be able to be accepted.
Unaccepted items placed in the bins that create the biggest problems are: pizza boxes, garden hoses, plastic bags, ropes, chains, and, surprisingly, dirty disposable diapers. Residents should not add these items to their recycling bins.
Please recycle 1,2,4, and 5 containers and caps left on the container with confidence they will be recycled.