Recycling Different Plastics

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Strider
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Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Strider » Thu May 09, 2019 8:37 am

Have gotten contradictory information on this topic, so am posing the question here.

Any given plastic container is designated by a number (1 through 7), shown in a triangle of arrows. Which of these are recyclable? Which are not? What about plastic containers that show no numeric designation?

Strider

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munemaker
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by munemaker » Thu May 09, 2019 8:39 am

This varies locally. Contact your municipal government or trash hauler.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu May 09, 2019 9:05 am

With China's new requirement of no more than 0.5% contamination, most recyclers in the US can't even qualify to ship to China. India is still accepting this, but at a much lower price. As it was, China had been burning over 75% of the plastic that reached them.

So, although I'm a big recycling advocate, I'd say you might as well throw all plastic in the trash. It's quite likely that your local recycler is doing exactly that anyways. Try to use less plastic. I do my small part by not getting a lid or straw at fast food restaurants. Subway (my favorite) uses paper cups which will degrade.
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by jaguar3003 » Thu May 09, 2019 9:14 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:05 am
With China's new requirement of no more than 0.5% contamination, most recyclers in the US can't even qualify to ship to China. India is still accepting this, but at a much lower price. As it was, China had been burning over 75% of the plastic that reached them.

So, although I'm a big recycling advocate, I'd say you might as well throw all plastic in the trash. It's quite likely that your local recycler is doing exactly that anyways. Try to use less plastic. I do my small part by not getting a lid or straw at fast food restaurants. Subway (my favorite) uses paper cups which will degrade.
Absolutely. Single use plastics are almost always paramountly stupid.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by EagertoLearnMore » Thu May 09, 2019 11:00 am

I try to recycle as much as I can. However, the new slogan in many towns is "When in doubt, Throw it out." Some towns will not accept plastic egg containers and other plastics even though the number in the triangle indicates it should be recycled.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Marylander1 » Thu May 09, 2019 11:03 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:05 am
With China's new requirement of no more than 0.5% contamination, most recyclers in the US can't even qualify to ship to China. India is still accepting this, but at a much lower price. As it was, China had been burning over 75% of the plastic that reached them.
Our local recycling program told me that the China restriction applies on the west coast, but not the east. Our plastics are still recycled as always, by the same entities in the US.

Marylander1

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu May 09, 2019 1:46 pm

Marylander1 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 11:03 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:05 am
With China's new requirement of no more than 0.5% contamination, most recyclers in the US can't even qualify to ship to China. India is still accepting this, but at a much lower price. As it was, China had been burning over 75% of the plastic that reached them.
Our local recycling program told me that the China restriction applies on the west coast, but not the east. Our plastics are still recycled as always, by the same entities in the US.

Marylander1
I got the numbers and story about China from the Harveys who live in our town and are part of EL Harvey, who runs the recycling facility on the Hopkinton/Westborough facility and does recycling collections for many metrowest towns, including mine. We're quite east coast.

I've been involved in recycling for a while, having served on the recycling committee in Ashland in the 80's.

Glass is another problem. There are no glass reclamation facilities in Massachusetts. It's all trucked far away, then melted into new glass. But is glass a scarce commodity? No. It's sand. Should glass just be put into land fills? Maybe....it doesn't really do anything except maybe get broken and closer to being sand again, rather than wasting diesel to be trucked several states away.
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Mingus
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Mingus » Thu May 09, 2019 1:54 pm

Majority of the plastic that is "recycled" is burned, buried, or ends up in the ocean off the coast of some SE Asian country.

Washing and sorting plastic to be recycled is an exercise in feel goodism.

From a common sense perspective, it would be better if we could locally incinerate used up plastic to convert into energy rather than ship it halfway across the globe.......

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu May 09, 2019 2:02 pm

munemaker wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 8:39 am
This varies locally. Contact your municipal government or trash hauler.
This ^^^

We have two properties 75 miles apart. Totally different rules. One takes glass. The other takes clear glass only. So we bring our colored glass (i.e. brown and green bottles) to the one that takes colored glass.

It's becoming very uneconomical for many communities, and much recycling is being added to landfills today.
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by fru-gal » Thu May 09, 2019 2:17 pm

EagertoLearnMore wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 11:00 am
I try to recycle as much as I can. However, the new slogan in many towns is "When in doubt, Throw it out." Some towns will not accept plastic egg containers and other plastics even though the number in the triangle indicates it should be recycled.
Every market I've been in has some eggs for sale in the pressed cardboard(?) containers. I just don't buy the ones in plastic. I don't buy deli stuff any more, for the same reason. Only Whole Foods, as far as I know in my area, packages deli stuff in paperish containers, and they are too far away to shop at regularly. The local stores won't allow bring your own containers for fear of contamination.

Yooper16
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Yooper16 » Thu May 09, 2019 2:24 pm

Saw this article a few days, about a company using tech from Europe to burn plastics. Makes it sound as tho it is a proven/accepted process in Europe. Ironically being used in coal country.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trashy-a ... 00448.html

And a new polymer being developed

https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/07/pdk ... ecyclable/

These are the type of activities that are going to be required.

No sacred cows have been gored--- yet.

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DanMahowny
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by DanMahowny » Thu May 09, 2019 2:48 pm

I keep things simple.

Everything goes in the trash, including the recycle bins. Done.
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fru-gal
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by fru-gal » Fri May 10, 2019 5:52 am

DanMahowny wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:48 pm
I keep things simple.

Everything goes in the trash, including the recycle bins. Done.
I'm sure your children and grandchildren will approve of this in the coming years. Not.

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nativenewenglander
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by nativenewenglander » Fri May 10, 2019 6:58 am

We have a nearby company in Groveton NH that is taking most plastics and turning it into heating oil. I drove by it recently it appears to be expanding. Our recycling manager told me there plan is to receive plastic from a 200 mile radius eventually. That would cover much of metro Boston, hopefully by then there will be other plants like this closer to those locals.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by WWV » Fri May 10, 2019 7:25 am

One alternative maybe the "Open Nature" line of products. I found them walking around an Albertsons Companies food store, and are produced by them. (They are also possibly the only product on the shelf that doesn't have a website listed-so what I relate comes from Google)

The products include plates, cups and utensils(knife, fork spoon) "made of plant-based material certified compostable in industrial composting facilities". They are BPA free and"tree free". Though not clearly stated, I think the product line is based on bamboo (which is technically a grass and not a tree). They are made in China.

The utensils state they are Dishwasher safe. My first trial of them on the bottom shelf with heated dry produced a "twisted" (slightly melted) result. I have yet to try without heated dry and/or on the top shelf. They are strong enough to be reused. The plates appear to be like a thick version of a "paper plate"-microwave safe, but not dishwasher.

This video shows why they call it "industrial" https://youtu.be/OaiRKS6n3sQ :!: . This means (I think) you could put them in your "Yard Waste". My experience with home composting of other "compostable" products like this is that it doesn't work well. I think it has something to do with the fact it needs to be physically broken down first into smaller pieces.

Besides bamboo toothbrushes, the only disposables I found so far like this which are on local retailers.
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by GCD » Fri May 10, 2019 7:33 am

fru-gal wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 5:52 am
DanMahowny wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:48 pm
I keep things simple.

Everything goes in the trash, including the recycle bins. Done.
I'm sure your children and grandchildren will approve of this in the coming years. Not.
Although perhaps overly sarcastic, Dan is not far off the mark. If you dig into the realities of recycling you will find that most of what homeowners put in their recycling bins is wasted effort.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by dbr » Fri May 10, 2019 7:58 am

munemaker wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 8:39 am
This varies locally. Contact your municipal government or trash hauler.
This is the correct answer to the immediate problem. In our community we get a constant barrage of mailings and flyers that describe the current recycling policy. Other posters are making relevant comments regarding the prospects for managing plastic recycling in general.

The comment "when in doubt throw it out" is also becoming more frequent. One can read articles about the severe problems that affect recycle facilities due to trying to sort out and remove "wrong" items which gum up the process.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Angst » Fri May 10, 2019 9:02 am

Many things "can" be recycled, but that doesn't mean they belong in "single-stream" recycling bins:

Plastic bags of any kind and styrofoam are typically NOT recycled in single-stream systems because they mess up the process of separating recyclables in the single-stream. Unfortunately, people routinely out of ignorance or just laziness throw plastic bags and styrofoam items in single-stream bins. Some people think a large plastic bag full of carefully crushed aluminum cans is fine in a single-stream bin, but NO, it's not fine. Some people throw in dirty food containers like pizza boxes, unwashed plastic squeeze containers with food material still in them, even whole appliances... Maybe "stupidity" should be added to ignorance and laziness?! Municipalities would do well to educate children in grade schools and then send them home with informational fliers to educate their parents.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by knightrider » Fri May 10, 2019 9:10 am

I've always wondered what happens to bagged recyclables? Every flyer says not to put recyclables in plastic bags . Yet many people do and for some reason the haulers gladly pick it up.

I reached out to our local environmental council and they said the material recovery facility can magically handle this somehow.. That seemed odd to me, but maybe others can chime in if that is true..

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by dbr » Fri May 10, 2019 9:11 am

Angst wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:02 am
Many things "can" be recycled, but that doesn't mean they belong in "single-stream" recycling bins:

Plastic bags of any kind and styrofoam are typically NOT recycled in single-stream systems because they mess up the process of separating recyclables in the single-stream. Unfortunately, people routinely out of ignorance or just laziness throw plastic bags and styrofoam items in single-stream bins. Some people think a large plastic bag full of carefully crushed aluminum cans is fine in a single-stream bin, but NO, it's not fine. Some people throw in dirty food containers like pizza boxes, unwashed plastic squeeze containers with food material still in them, even whole appliances... Maybe "stupidity" should be added to ignorance and laziness?! Municipalities would do well to educate children in grade schools and then send them home with informational fliers to educate their parents.
This is all true, but I am not sure the issue is completely ignorance or laziness. The actual decision tree for what can and can't go in is not particularly obvious and seems to be frequently changed. In our community plastic bags and styrofoam can be recycled, but just not with the other stuff, so people can get confused. How much soap and water people should waste washing things out needs better analysis in my opinion. Wait till you get to what is "compostable" recycle. It could be that single stream recycling is over-reach and that presorting will turn out to have been the better approach even though it was more expensive to collect and sort. We are really dealing with the old rule that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

dbr
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by dbr » Fri May 10, 2019 9:16 am

knightrider wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:10 am
I've always wondered what happens to bagged recyclables? Every flyer says not to put recyclables in plastic bags . Yet many people do and for some reason the haulers gladly pick it up.

I reached out to our local environmental council and they said the material recovery facility can magically handle this somehow.. That seemed odd to me, but maybe others can chime in if that is true..
I have seen news reports in our community that plastic bags in the recycle stream frequently shut down the recycling machinery and have to be unjammed by hand. I would guess this is a technology issue involving how much investment is made in the most capable equipment to "magically" handle these things. Ironically we are told by the trash collectors that trash/garbage is to be bagged and recycle is to not be bagged. There are separate bins at each household for trash and recycle and there are suggestions to have a third for compostable. The current rules on what can be hauled to compost sites are rigorous. There is also yard waste disposal, which is a different issue, including the issue of bagging leaves in plastic bags. I think there are paper leaf bags available, maybe.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Nate79 » Fri May 10, 2019 9:17 am

Every area has different recycling systems and how those systems handle all the different materials dictates how that area defines their recycling program. Everything from how they handle/don't handle plastic bags, the type of plastics they can handle and even if they want the lids on the plastic containers or not are very important.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by TBillT » Fri May 10, 2019 9:18 am

Technically of course many household plastics can be recycled.
Practically, as far as what US industry is willing to recycle, No.1 Polyester and No. 2 HDPE are most recyclable, but I suspect we do not have capaity for all of it. Bottom line we need to build up more recycling industry here. Personally I favor what my county does which is trash -to-steam so unused plastics - that we do not send to China- can get burned for energy.

Glass- Latest news is that all these years, they were not recovering the glass becuase co-mingling plastics and glass makes the glass non-recoverable.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by banhbao » Fri May 10, 2019 9:19 am

Strider wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 8:37 am
Have gotten contradictory information on this topic, so am posing the question here.

Any given plastic container is designated by a number (1 through 7), shown in a triangle of arrows. Which of these are recyclable? Which are not? What about plastic containers that show no numeric designation?

Strider
In general, Nos. 1 and 2 are usually recycled, because they are easy to recycle. But you should contact your local municipality to be sure.

Here is some more information about the various types:
https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/pl ... e-numbers/
http://www.tfcrecycling.com/plastic-faqs.html

Also, you can usually return plastic bags to your local grocery store.

dbr
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by dbr » Fri May 10, 2019 9:20 am

Nate79 wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:17 am
Every area has different recycling systems and how those systems handle all the different materials dictates how that area defines their recycling program. Everything from how they handle/don't handle plastic bags, the type of plastics they can handle and even if they want the lids on the plastic containers or not are very important.
Right. We are told plastic containers must be washed out and the lids replaced so the containers can be separated by floatation. Glass goes to the bottom and empty plastic bottles with lids float, but they have to be washed out, which can be expensive in soap, hot water and effluent to the water treatment system. Maybe there is way to thoroughly wipe out a mayonnaise or mustard container using paper towels.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Angst » Fri May 10, 2019 9:56 am

dbr wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:11 am
Angst wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:02 am
Many things "can" be recycled, but that doesn't mean they belong in "single-stream" recycling bins:

Plastic bags of any kind and styrofoam are typically NOT recycled in single-stream systems because they mess up the process of separating recyclables in the single-stream. Unfortunately, people routinely out of ignorance or just laziness throw plastic bags and styrofoam items in single-stream bins. Some people think a large plastic bag full of carefully crushed aluminum cans is fine in a single-stream bin, but NO, it's not fine. Some people throw in dirty food containers like pizza boxes, unwashed plastic squeeze containers with food material still in them, even whole appliances... Maybe "stupidity" should be added to ignorance and laziness?! Municipalities would do well to educate children in grade schools and then send them home with informational fliers to educate their parents.
This is all true, but I am not sure the issue is completely ignorance or laziness. The actual decision tree for what can and can't go in is not particularly obvious and seems to be frequently changed. In our community plastic bags and styrofoam can be recycled, but just not with the other stuff, so people can get confused. How much soap and water people should waste washing things out needs better analysis in my opinion. Wait till you get to what is "compostable" recycle. It could be that single stream recycling is over-reach and that presorting will turn out to have been the better approach even though it was more expensive to collect and sort. We are really dealing with the old rule that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Your points are well taken. The do's and don'ts of recycling can be confusing and sometimes it is difficult to know what's right or wrong. I think we all agree that better education and providing of information are needed.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri May 10, 2019 10:22 am

nativenewenglander wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:58 am
We have a nearby company in Groveton NH that is taking most plastics and turning it into heating oil. I drove by it recently it appears to be expanding. Our recycling manager told me there plan is to receive plastic from a 200 mile radius eventually. That would cover much of metro Boston, hopefully by then there will be other plants like this closer to those locals.
This would be awesome!

I used to snowmobile out of Groveton....up to Pittsburg and back on the RR tracks.
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by SrGrumpy » Fri May 10, 2019 10:47 am

dbr wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 7:58 am
In our community we get a constant barrage of mailings and flyers that describe the current recycling policy.
How many trees were killed for that purpose?!

How much water do we waste cleaning items that end up in landfills? How much gas do we waste driving across town to dispose of batteries and light bulbs at special depots? And it's 2019, why can't they recycle pizza boxes with grease stains?

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by TBillT » Fri May 10, 2019 12:05 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 10:47 am
dbr wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 7:58 am
In our community we get a constant barrage of mailings and flyers that describe the current recycling policy.
How many trees were killed for that purpose?!

How much water do we waste cleaning items that end up in landfills? How much gas do we waste driving across town to dispose of batteries and light bulbs at special depots? And it's 2019, why can't they recycle pizza boxes with grease stains?
That's a funny one...I used to throw the greasy pizza boxes in the trash, but recently we watched the pick-up guys take it out of our trash and put it in the recycles.

But the whole story is changing now, and they are asking us not to be guilty of "wishful" recycling. When in doubt, in the trash now.

My spouse is hugely guilty of wishful recycling as she feels most things should be recycled.

retired recently
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by retired recently » Fri May 10, 2019 12:09 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 1:46 pm
Re: Recycling Different PlasticsQuote Marylander1
by Marylander1 » Thu May 09, 2019 12:03 pm
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017 ... ut-of-sand

My quote did not work correctly but upthread someone indicated recycling glass probably made little sense as it is just sand which is plentiful. Apparently sand has become a bit of a rare commodity.

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CABob
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by CABob » Fri May 10, 2019 12:37 pm

EagertoLearnMore wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 11:00 am
I try to recycle as much as I can. However, the new slogan in many towns is "When in doubt, Throw it out." Some towns will not accept plastic egg containers and other plastics even though the number in the triangle indicates it should be recycled.
Interesting. I am inclined to take the opposite approach being, "When in doubt put it in the recycle bin."
Perhaps I should reconsider that approach.
Bob

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by not4me » Fri May 10, 2019 4:18 pm

CABob wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 12:37 pm
EagertoLearnMore wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 11:00 am
I try to recycle as much as I can. However, the new slogan in many towns is "When in doubt, Throw it out." Some towns will not accept plastic egg containers and other plastics even though the number in the triangle indicates it should be recycled.
Interesting. I am inclined to take the opposite approach being, "When in doubt put it in the recycle bin."
Perhaps I should reconsider that approach.
My limited understanding is that virtually all plastics can technically be recycled, but most can't be economically & so most/many aren't. Sometime back, the company that does recycling in our area sent out an update on what they would accept. Reading between the lines a bit, they apparently didn't spend much $ sorting it themselves. The line that got me was that if a certain amount of the "wrong" plastic was included, an entire batch might be rejected. Caused me to switch my "when in doubt" thinking

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by SrGrumpy » Fri May 10, 2019 5:00 pm

not4me wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 4:18 pm
The line that got me was that if a certain amount of the "wrong" plastic was included, an entire batch might be rejected. Caused me to switch my "when in doubt" thinking
I believe that's (in part) what led to the Chinese clampdown.

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CABob
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by CABob » Fri May 10, 2019 5:27 pm

Many may have noticed that some retailers (mostly grocery stores) have a recycle bin for plastic bags. I recently received a flyer form my trash company to tell me that these recycles can accept a wide range of bags and wraps including bubble wrap and air pillows, wrap from cases of water/soda, wrap from paper towels and toilet paper, furniture and mattress wraps, etc. So these items which are not desirable in the curbside recycling bins can be recycled if one wants to put out the effort.

Plastic wrap recycling.
Bob

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri May 10, 2019 5:40 pm

Single-stream recycling is becoming a problem. Another issue is paper. It get "contaminated" by plastic mingled with it, plus food getting on it from dirty cans and such or people putting used paper plates in.

Here in the Midwest, one of the main recyclers that the waste companies use has closed down. Some of them are talking about strongly cutting back on what the consumer can recycle.
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nativenewenglander
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by nativenewenglander » Fri May 10, 2019 6:20 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 10:22 am
nativenewenglander wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:58 am
We have a nearby company in Groveton NH that is taking most plastics and turning it into heating oil. I drove by it recently it appears to be expanding. Our recycling manager told me there plan is to receive plastic from a 200 mile radius eventually. That would cover much of metro Boston, hopefully by then there will be other plants like this closer to those locals.
This would be awesome!

I used to snowmobile out of Groveton....up to Pittsburg and back on the RR tracks.
Those tracks are still there, this season was an epic one for snow. Even in April Pittsburg had over 40 inches of snow on the ground. We'll be there trout fishing in a month for four days and again in August with friends. A great area to live if you like the four seasons, five if you count mud season........

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by clown » Fri May 10, 2019 6:55 pm

Recycling is a BUSINESS, not an environmental feel-good exercise. In order to have a business, there must be a seller and a buyer. If there is no buyer, there is no market. That is what is happening to recycling, in my opinion. Some of the items many feel should be recyclable, are not recyclable because there are no buyers for the items. So we end up putting items in the trash that "should" be able to be recycled. I think we need to devote effort and capital to create new equipment or processes so that things can recycled here in the USA, maybe converted to energy to run our homes. Jobs for Americans -- what a quaint and simple-minded idea.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat May 11, 2019 1:18 pm

clown wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:55 pm
Recycling is a BUSINESS, not an environmental feel-good exercise.
Well, no. The reason governments are getting involved in recycling is for environmental reasons. The implementation and pricing are reliant on the underlying business model, but that's not the top-level reason.
Play Gloria!

michaelingp
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by michaelingp » Sat May 11, 2019 9:30 pm

Our county allows tours of the recycling center which I would highly encourage. Basically what I saw was huge trucks dumping piles of stuff onto a conveyor belt, and scores of people trying valiantly to keep it under control. That would cure you of any thought that they could pick up a article and read the number in the little triangle and do something differently with it. There was a contraption that pretty effectively extracted aluminum cans and steel can be pulled out with magnets. We have dual stream, so paper is not a problem, but I don't see how single stream works at all. One thing I was dismayed to learn was that glass, which seems to me to be the ultimate recyclable material, is not recycled due to the danger of broken glass injuring workers. Otherwise, it seemed that the workers pulled out, to the extent they could, easily identifiable objects like one-liter soda bottles, and everything else went to the trash.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Turbo29 » Sat May 11, 2019 10:12 pm

I like peanut butter and buy a lot of it. The plastic jars are labeled "1", so they are recyclable but must be cleaned first. I throw them in the trash. I live in the desert so if someone here can explain to me how washing them with water pumped uphill from the Colorado River (which must be heated to get the oily peanut butter out) that is treated in a drinking water plant, mixed with soap, and then treated in a sewage treatment plant and then recycling them is more "environmentally friendly" (whatever that means) than throwing them in the trash, I will recycle them. Otherwise they go in the trash. I suppose I could by it in glass jars but they want those cleaned too and someone else already detailed the problems with recycling glass.

I do recycle metal cans (aluminum and steel) as those are easy to process on the recycling end.

donfairplay
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by donfairplay » Sun May 12, 2019 1:14 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:05 am
With China's new requirement of no more than 0.5% contamination, most recyclers in the US can't even qualify to ship to China. India is still accepting this, but at a much lower price. As it was, China had been burning over 75% of the plastic that reached them.

So, although I'm a big recycling advocate, I'd say you might as well throw all plastic in the trash. It's quite likely that your local recycler is doing exactly that anyways. Try to use less plastic. I do my small part by not getting a lid or straw at fast food restaurants. Subway (my favorite) uses paper cups which will degrade.
I don't think Subway's cups are recyclable or biodegradable. See their website:

https://www.subway.com/en-US/AboutUs/So ... ePackaging

They're similar to Starbucks "paper" cups, they have plastic lining. The cups theoretically could be recycled if the plastic lining was separated from the paper, but in practice they essentially aren't recycled.

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tadamsmar
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by tadamsmar » Tue May 14, 2019 8:08 am

Strider wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 8:37 am
Have gotten contradictory information on this topic, so am posing the question here.

Any given plastic container is designated by a number (1 through 7), shown in a triangle of arrows. Which of these are recyclable? Which are not? What about plastic containers that show no numeric designation?

Strider
You can probably look this up online.

The info for me is on my town's website, but I was also able to access it indirectly via my county's web site. There are also details on how to prep the containers. And there may be separate curbside rules and rules for drop off of large items at certain facilities.

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tadamsmar
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by tadamsmar » Tue May 14, 2019 8:15 am

Marylander1 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 11:03 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:05 am
With China's new requirement of no more than 0.5% contamination, most recyclers in the US can't even qualify to ship to China. India is still accepting this, but at a much lower price. As it was, China had been burning over 75% of the plastic that reached them.
Our local recycling program told me that the China restriction applies on the west coast, but not the east. Our plastics are still recycled as always, by the same entities in the US.

Marylander1
They apply to my east coast county:

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/busin ... 96704.html

But the article says that the impact is less in the southeast because there are more alternative consumers:
China’s restrictions are felt less keenly in the Southeast because the region is less dependent on exports for its recycling, said Will Sagar, executive director of the Southeast Recycling Development Council, a trade group that represents companies and governments in 11 states from Louisiana to Virginia. There are 360 manufacturing plants in that region that use recycled materials to make new products, according to the council, including 60 in North Carolina.
However, the price paid to my county by the private Sonoco recycling facility has dropped from $9 to $0 per ton of mixed recyclables.

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue May 14, 2019 8:31 am

So to talk a little about how recycling in our area started, back in the 80's (and even the 70's), over 50% of trash was paper. In the olden days, I'd collect paper and bring it to a paper plant over in Springfield, MA on my way to my community college classes just down the street. I might get $10 for a short bed pickup full of bundled newspapers.

Forward to the 80's and my town started a recycling program, where residents brought in their recycling and put them into respective places. Glass, paper and that's it. No plastic a the time. The entire reason was to remove bulk from the trash because all trash was trucked from our town (Ashland, MA) to a facility in Plainville, MA. Removing the paper saved on tipping fees (cost to dump) and of course the cost for the town truck and paying the driver. I imagine that the percentage of paper is probably lower. I know that only 250 households in my town receive a newspaper (delivered) because my son did the deliveries a couple summers ago for the entire town. Not like the olden days when everyone received a newspaper. I know I haven't received newspapers for at least 30 years. I have the internet.....why do I need to kill more trees?

On the plastic side, I was talking with the Harveys this past weekend and our town has contracted them to collect both trash and single stream recycling (I still bring stuff to the recycling center, sometimes) and he tells me that when the contract is renegotiated, it's going to at least double the cost on the recycling side because of the lack of a plastic market.
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Cycle
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Cycle » Tue May 14, 2019 8:33 am

Three R's are actually just 2. Reduce, Reuse. The third R gives people an excuse not to do the first two, so it is counter productive. With many plastics anyways. I could certainly see a simplified recycling program being very effective, like just aluminum cans and glass bottles.

We have a new local zero waste grocery store, Tare Market. You bring your own containers. I really wish all the packaging at a grocery store was optional, like it is at a farmers market. This of course works best if you eat real food.

Reality is most Americans (including myself) do not care at all about the environment or sustainability, as demonstrated by where people choose to live, work, and vacation. I mean I say I care, but then I look at my many international vacations, which speak for themselves. If everyone on earth lived like americans, it would be a smoggy place.

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tadamsmar
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by tadamsmar » Tue May 14, 2019 10:41 am

clown wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:55 pm
Recycling is a BUSINESS, not an environmental feel-good exercise. In order to have a business, there must be a seller and a buyer. If there is no buyer, there is no market. That is what is happening to recycling, in my opinion. Some of the items many feel should be recyclable, are not recyclable because there are no buyers for the items. So we end up putting items in the trash that "should" be able to be recycled. I think we need to devote effort and capital to create new equipment or processes so that things can recycled here in the USA, maybe converted to energy to run our homes. Jobs for Americans -- what a quaint and simple-minded idea.
No longer a viable unsubsidized business overall:
As prices slumped and contracts that processors and haulers had with local governments expired (or hit certain targets that allowed for renegotiating rates), taxpayers suddenly found themselves paying much more dearly for a service that had been low-cost or even a source of revenue.
https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-a ... ies-do-now

The subsidy is not 100% feel-good because it reduces the net energy intensity of industry to have access to government-subsidized recyclables like aluminum (one of the best). So it's partly pollution abatement:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/scienc ... 2/4291566/

SrGrumpy
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by SrGrumpy » Tue May 14, 2019 12:26 pm

Cycle wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 8:33 am
If everyone on earth lived like americans, it would be a smoggy place.
Americans don't need to self-flagellate all the time. I think most people do care, as you indicate, but then daily reality intercedes, i.e. we are the world's biggest economy. And then there's the faux reality of a patchwork of recycling programs. I assume your travels did not include festering parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East?

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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by Cycle » Tue May 14, 2019 3:14 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 12:26 pm
Cycle wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 8:33 am
If everyone on earth lived like americans, it would be a smoggy place.
Americans don't need to self-flagellate all the time. I think most people do care, as you indicate, but then daily reality intercedes, i.e. we are the world's biggest economy. And then there's the faux reality of a patchwork of recycling programs. I assume your travels did not include festering parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East?
I've been to poor parts of nicaragua / honduras, South Africa, I kept thinking, now this is how sustainable people live. No car, walk to work, few possessions. Of course i no doubt think that if one inflated the income of folks in those places by 15-30X, that they would purchase a diesel car and start buying bottled water first chance they get. Littering is rampant there, as well as deforestation.

Walking on the shores of Lake Nicaragua in Granada was sad. Mountains of plastic on the beach.

not4me
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by not4me » Mon May 20, 2019 10:09 am

This AP story has appeared in several places, but in case some missed it I thought I'd share the link as it gives one view on some of the discussion in this thread:
https://www.apnews.com/3d3d86a09b9647b795295e77355877db

SrGrumpy
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Re: Recycling Different Plastics

Post by SrGrumpy » Tue May 28, 2019 3:05 pm

Saw this item today behind a Financial Times paywall:

"Malaysia will return 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste to countries including the US, Canada and Saudi Arabia, amid a broadening clampdown on imports of improperly labelled rubbish across south-east Asia."

It notes that several SE Asian countries have been deluged with so much foreign plastic that their recycling systems have been overwhelmed - much of it ends up in the sea. Also: The Philippines and Canada are embroiled in a vicious dispute over shipments of wrongly labeled waste. So I guess the actionable moral is: If in doubt, don't put it in the recycle bin.

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