Recycling 101: Here are some starting points
TRI-COUNTY AREA—“About 80 percent of what Americans throw away is recyclable,” according to the Western Finger Lakes Authority Web site. A common logo of three chasing arrows reminds everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Common items that can be recycled:
• Clear, brown, and green glass food containers
• Metal containers
• Aluminum pie pans
• Single-serving trays
• Plastic food, personal care, and household cleaning product containers
• Paper milk and juice containers
• Telephone books
• Office paper
• Envelopes without the window
• Magazines, catalogs, colored paper
• Clean cardboard
• Clean newspapers
Items that cannot be recycled:
• Window glass
• Light bulbs
• Drinking glasses
• Aerosol cans
• Paint cans
• Pesticide or other chemical containers
• Styrofoam trays
• Egg cartons
• Motor oil containers
• Carbon paper
• Plastic wrappers
• Crayon-marked paper
• Tape or labels on cardboard
Proper recycling tips provided by the Western Finger Lakes Authority:
• Items being recycled should be placed in a box or clear plastic trash bag.
• Containers should be clean of food and liquid.
• Tops from glass and plastic containers should be thrown away.
• Metal cans, gallon plastic containers and half-gallon paper containers should be flattened.
• Fold or flatten paper
• Place shredded paper in a clear plastic trash bag.
According to the DEC Web site, “paper is the largest component of our waste stream.”
“Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, two barrels of oil (enough to run the average car for 1,260 miles), 4,100 kilowatts of energy (enough power for the average home for six months), 3.2 cubic yards of landfill space and 60 pounds of air pollution,” the Western Finger Lakes Authority Web site states.
“Glass takes more than one million years to decompose in our landfills. Recycling glass, instead of making it from silica sand reduces mining waste by 75 percent and air pollution by 20 percent,” the Western Finger Lakes Authority Web site states.
According to the Western Finger Lakes Authority Web site, plastics are identified by the number printed or molded on the bottom of most containers. The numbers inside the chasing recycling logo arrows refer to different types of plastics. The numbers are based on a plastic guide developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI). The following are numbers most commonly seen:
• 1: PETE – Polyethylene terepthalate. It is used mostly for soft drink containers and is the most commonly recycled plastic. It can be recycled into fiberfill for sleeping bags, carpet fibers, rope or pillows.
• 2: HDPE – High-density polyethylene. The second most commonly recycled product that is used for food, personal care, and cleaning product bottles and bowls. It can be recycled into flower pots, trash cans, traffic barrier cones, or detergent bottles.
• 3: PVC- Polyvinyl chloride or vinyl. It is primarily used for vegetable oil bottles, some food containers, and plastic wrap. It can be recycled into drainage and irrigation pipes.
• 4: LDPE- low-density polyethylene, found in grocery bags and shrink wrap. It can be recycled into new grocery bags.
• 5: PP- Polypropylene, found in food containers like yogurt cups and bottle caps. It can be recycled into plastic lumber, car battery cases, and manhole steps.
• 6: PS-polystyrene, commonly found in Styrofoam products like packaging peanuts and meat trays. It can be recycled into plastic lumber, cassette tape boxes, and flower pots.
• 7: OTHER, resins and multi-layer plastics found in a variety of products and containers such as squeeze bottles and microwavable dishes.
Many hard to dispose items such as appliances, electronics and batteries can be recycled.
Non-working appliances can be taken to:
• B & B Recycling Tinney Road in Penn Yan 315-536-6855 (also accept propane tanks without the valve)
• Kreiger Recycling on Portland Ave. in Rochester 585-232-4767
• Seneca Iron & Metal on Route 414 in Seneca Falls
Household batteries: that contain alkaline are not considered hazardous waste and can be disposed of in the regular trash.
CDs and DVDs: not accepted in the curbside recycle programs. Web sites can be found that will offer additional help and information.
Cell phones and computers: non-profit groups and wireless providers have collection programs.
• Yates County Chamber of Commerce 315-536-3111
Paint: latex is not hazardous and can be disposed of after it is dry. Oil-based is accepted at a hazardous waste collection.
Tires: many tire stores will accept used tires, but will charge a fee.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) suggests the New Yorkers precycle. Precycling is preventing waste before you have to recycle. The DEC offers some helpful tips to precycle:
• Look for no packaging: buy food in bulk, buy fruit and snacks loose.
• Bring your own canvas or reusable bags to the store.
• Look for reusable and refillable packaging.
• Use a cloth towel instead of paper towels.
• Use a reusable razor instead of disposable ones.
• Use a glass, mug, washable plates, bowls, and utensils instead of plastic or disposable items.
• Donate used clothing and appliances to charities.
• Make double-sides copies.
• E-mail copies instead of distributing individual copies.
• Reuse three-ring binders, folders, report covers, and other school or office supplies.
• Bring a reusable lunch box.
• Write notes and lists on junk mail, used envelopes, flyers, etc.
• Fill empty plastic bottles with water, freeze and use in coolers.
• Use plastic or glass food containers as storage containers.
• Reuse aluminum foil.
For more information about recycling contact:
• Western Finger Lakes Authority 315-946-7650
• Cardinal Disposal in Dundee 607-243-7568
• B & B Recycling in Penn Yan 315-536-4655
• Appleton Disposal in Geneva 315-7816865
• Cornell Cooperative Extension in Montour Falls 607-535-7161
• Division of Solid Waste in Bath 607-776-9631 Ext. 2460
• Swarthout Recycling Services in Beaver Dams 607-936-0013
• Southern Tier Auto Recycling in Beaver Dams 607-962-7995.