Officials offer recycling guidelines to make good thing better

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – Experts say recycling is the right thing to do – it’s earth-friendly, and conserves energy and resources.

Recycling the wrong way, however, can do harm, and even cost waste collectors more money in penalty costs.

Pizza boxes are a good example of a recycling tough sell: Although the boxes are paper, food contamination can ruin an entire batch of cardboard, since food will begin to degrade rapidly on whatever surface it adheres to. While plastic, glass and metal containers can be washed prior to recycling, cardboard cannot.

Plastics are recyclable, but liners, like the kind found in tissue boxes, should be separated from cardboard boxes.

No. 1 or 2 plastics are broadly recycled, and are the only two of seven categories that are recycled by the city.

Materials marked No. 1 are made of polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PET or PETE. They are used in soda bottles, and are recycled into many products, including fleece.

No. 2 is high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, is used for detergent bottles and grocery bags.

Paper can be recycled more easily if sorted into long- and short-fiber types. Officer paper has long fibers, whereas cereal boxes have short fibers.

Paper is pureed into pulp, so paper clips and staples are filtered out. Chemicals remove inks, so the paper once again becomes white.

Recycling metal saves the most energy overall, since reused metals require less energy to process than raw ore. Most steel contains scrap or recycled steel.

Most metals should be sorted into ferrous and nonferrous where mandated for recycling. A magnet can help separate steel from aluminum if weight alone doesn’t differentiate the containers.

Recyclable glass is generally just the type used for containers. Sheet glass for windshields and special high-temperature types, like Pyrex, for example, have different melting points than the food container glass recycled by most municipalities.

Batteries can be dropped off for recycling at City Hall, the main lobby of the municipal service building and the recycling center on Grove near the Animal Pound.

For curbside recycling pickup call (877) 264-5544. Curbside recycling costs $55.75 per year, while yard waste curbside pickup is $60.75 per year with Republic Waste Services. Prices are subject to change.

Roll-off boxes for dirt, concrete, shingles, drywall, brush and debris for residents doing their own work can be obtained by calling the Department of Public Works at (734) 324-4581.