NEW LEXINGTON — Katrina Carpenter, Education Specialist for the Perry County Waste Reduction & Recycling, says county residents are doing a great job of filling the recycling bins throughout the area. However, one issue has become a problem recently.
“We have been having items dumped in our bins that are not recyclable and really nasty,” described Carpenter. The nastiest of the nasty has been bags of kitty litter being dumped into recycling bins.
“Recycling is tedious work that has to be done by hand,” says Carpenter. “And we do not have a machine that sorts materials.”
Paper products that can be recycled include corrugated cardboard, pasteboard, magazines, catalogs, office paper, and newspaper.
Aluminum cans, steel cans, plastic bottles, milk jugs, brown glass, and clear glass round out the list of recyclable items that can be placed in the bins. Recyclers need not sort their recyclables nor should they leave the items in plastic bags. Plastic bags cannot be recycled, thus becoming unwanted trash at the recycling plant.
“Just get it in the bins!” stated Carpenter.
Besides no tied plastic bags, the “no” list also contains garbage, food, yard waste, plastic bags, electronics, buckets, syringes, light bulbs, drinking glass, batteries, ceramic dishes, plastic toys, and plastic lids.
One of the recycling plant employees, Jerry Lyons, pointed out a huge box full of items unable to be recycled while walking through the facility. Lyons was asked how long it took to fill that box with items that ultimately must be taken to the landfill.
“That’s about two days worth of pick-ups,” said Lyons. Some of the items being dumped include clothes baskets, big screen TVs, lawn furniture, and appliances.
“Do you know what the number one item that people dump along the road?” asked Carpenter. “It’s fast food wrappers and cups.”
In 2019 alone, 23,315 pounds of miscellaneous trash, 1,658 tires, and 427 large items like furniture and mattresses were picked up along Perry County roads, according to Carpenter. She went on to detail where recycled items are taken and what products are created from them.
Number 1 and 2 plastic bottles are used to make clothing, stuffed animal filling, fleece, carpet (Mohawk), and polyester. Milk jugs and detergent bottles can be used to create plastic lumber, parking lot berms, speed bumps, compressed products, picnic tables, and lawn furniture.
“Cardboard is purchased by a company in northern Ohio and becomes insulation sold by Menards,” explained Carpenter.
“Our crew does a great job here, but dealing with all the materials we can’t recycle makes a tedious job even more difficult,” she added.
Matt Reed is the director at the Perry County Waste Reduction & Recycling plant. The plant is located at 2331 state Route 13 behind PerCo. If you have any questions about recycling, Carpenter and Reed can be reached at 740-342-7881.