Recycling right: Not all plastics are created equal
SALISBURY, Md. – In honor of America Recycles Day, 47 ABC stopped by the Wicomico County Solid Waste Division on Friday to learn which items can actually be recycled and which ones can’t be recycled.
“My biggest thing with plastic is it takes five seconds to make it. It gets five minutes of use. And 500 years to break down,” says Jennifer Albero, the Wicomico Solid Waste Recycling Coordinator.
Recycling seems pretty simple but officials say there are a lot of things people aren’t doing correctly. “Don’t wish recycle and think because it’s got a little piece of plastic because all packaging these days has some sort of plastic on it. It doesn’t mean that we can recycle it,” says Albero.
There are a few general guidelines you can keep in mind when recycling. “Look at the bottom of your plastic container for that triangle with the number in it and just stick to narrow neck containers which have a small Nick on them with the numbers one and two,” says
Experts say one of the biggest issues they have is people trying to recycle plastic bags at facilities like this.
“Right now the only place that I’m aware of to take (plastic bags) are to local grocery stores like Acme or Walmart,” says Alyssa Hastings, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Salisbury.
As the phrase goes: reduce, reuse, recycle. But make recycling the last option.
“Recycling is wonderful. It is so beneficial for the environment. But also not everything can be recycled. So if we can reduce the amount that we are using in the first place, it can have a huge impact for the environment,” says Hastings.
As for toxic chemicals, your best bet for those containers is to save them for Household Hazardous Waste Day. Experts say a common misconception is that Styrofoam or juice cartons can be recycled but they actually can’t be recycled.
In general, the best thing to do is educate yourself about which products your facility takes.
For information on what can be recycled in Wicomico County: click here.