A wide range of consumer plastics — including “clam-shells” and cat-litter jugs — will be accepted for recycling in Denver.
“The market for recycled (plastic) raw materials is really opening up, so that is creating a demand,” said Charlotte Pitt, recycling program manager for Denver Recycles.
“Because plastics are made from petroleum, anytime you see gas and petroleum prices go up, you also see a bump in the demand for recycled plastic,” she said.
Waste Management, which works in partnership with Denver Recycles, is putting in new equipment that will sort the increased stream of recyclables.
Rigid plastic containers that are now accepted include: recyclable peanut butter and mayonnaise jars, containers used to pack salad mixes, and “clam-shell” containers such as those used to pack strawberries and blueberries.
Laundry detergent bottles are also OK, as are soda, water and soap bottles.
Recycled mixed plastics are most often made into things like flower pots and paint containers, said Pitt.
About 9.8 percent of what goes into the Denver residential waste stream for landfills is plastic.
Rigid food packaging accounts for about 1 percent of that total — items such as to-go plastic drinking cups, sour cream, tofu and butter tubs, plastic trays from microwave dinners. About 1.8 percent of the plastics is bottles.
The rest includes things that are still not recyclable, such as plastic chairs and toys.
“I’m a fairly aware consumer, and I was just amazed at the things I collected at my house,” said Pitt. “When you put it aside, it really adds up.”
All plastic containers should be empty, and lids removed when possible.
Many plastic containers are marked on the bottom with recycling symbols, and Denver Recycles now accepts containers marked 1 through 7.
Some plastics, however, are still not accepted. They include plastic bags, Styrofoam, plastic shrink wrap, toys, tubes and plastic containers larger than 3 gallons.
Source : denverpost.com