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Discover Fauquier June 2019
Recycling trash has become an important
landfill-diversion activity in our throw-
away society. Useful trash is making its
way to manufacturers who use it to make
new items such as clothing, carpet, and
decking material right here in the United
States. Americans want to do their part
but identifying what can be recycled and
how to recycle it can be a confusing and
sometimes an overwhelming task.
In Fauquier County and in the New Balti-
more area specifically, there are several
ways that recyclables are collected. Private
haulers offer single-stream recycling col-
lection (everything in one container) that
is hauled out of county for sorting and
processing. Fauquier County has a pre-
sorted collection system, whereby residents
drop off their pre-sorted recyclables and
put them into corresponding containers.
The Town of Warrenton has blue bag
collection pickup for their residents for
plastic bottles, cans, glass, and cardboard.
The school system also offers recycling
collection and has asked students and
faculty to recycle their items in designated
containers--plastic bottles and aluminum
cans in one container and mixed paper in
another. Some schools also collect copy
paper separately.
Despite their differences, all collections
systems have a value in the recycling world;
however, there are some common rules to
follow when using any collection system.
1. Keep it clean. For many reasons
(contamination of the products, pests,
odor, etc.), recyclables need to be
clean. Pizza boxes with grease and
cheese, for example, would be con-
sidered contaminated and having
one box in a 1,650- pound bale of
corrugated cardboard could potentially
cause the entire bale to be unusable.
Plastic bottles and cans should be
rinsed. A top safety-related incident
at collection sites and our processing
center involve bee stings.
2. Plastic bags and wraps of all sorts
should be kept separate. Whether
you have single-stream recycling, or
you sort your recyclables yourself,
plastic bags are their own material and
should be collected separately. Plastic
bags get caught up in automated sort-
ing machines (in the single-stream
world) and are always a source of litter
due to them blowing around. Keeping
them separate and in the appropriate
containers to recycle is the way to go.
In Fauquier County, all grocery stores,
schools, and residential collection
sites accept plastic bags for recycling.
3. Follow the collection systems rules.
Each system, whether single-stream
or pre-sorted, has its own set of guide-
lines, and it's important to know and
understand them. Take a moment to
read them.
4. Carryout food containers, including
clamshells, yogurt cups, Styrofoam
cups, and other plastics labeled #37
are not sorted as recyclables at this
time in Fauquier County since there
is no market to accept them, and so
they must be discarded with the trash.
This change came about several years
ago as a result of China no longer
wanting to import dirty recycling that
they eventually deemed unusable.
At that time, it was also less expen-
sive to make new plastic products
because the price of petroleum was
down significantly. The official ban on
recyclable imports began a year ago.
Current recyclables being sorted and
baled include plastic bottles and jars
#1 (PETE) and #2 (HDPE). There is a
market for these few recyclables here
in the United States. Some examples
include drinking bottles and milk jugs
and bottles that contained laundry
detergent, some cleaning supplies
and hair products.
Recycling is a huge part of keeping our en-
vironment healthy and our landfills smaller.
Every proper contribution, whether big or
small, makes a difference in the overall
picture. Taking the time to understand
the collection system in your area and
following the few common recycling rules
will help--from helping the workers who
handle your recycling to keeping the re-
cycling products clean and usable. Your
help matters.
By Trish Ethier
Recycling Information Program Environmental
Services Coordinator, Fauquier County
Being Green Means
Thinking Clean
and Recycling
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JUNE 11, 2019