Simple tips can increase recycling rate

To The Editor:

Given last week’s news regarding the RIRRC’s reduction of our annual cap at the Johnston Landfill for fiscal year 2014-15 and the potential for significantly higher tipping fees, the Bristol Recycles Committee offers these 10 simple recycling tips:

1) Recycle plastic containers that are up to 2 gallons in size. Rinse, attach cap, and place in your recycle bin. The exception:  Auto products (motor oil, anti-freeze, etc.) and K-cups are trash.

2) No plastic bags. Any recyclables tied in plastic bags in your recycle bin go directly to the landfill. The exception: Shredded paper should be double-bagged in clear or translucent bags and placed in your recycle bin.

3) Use the restore bin at any grocery, pharmacy, or big-box store to recycle any clear or translucent plastic that can be stretched (grocery bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, bread bags, etc.). The exception: Clingy food wrap is not recyclable.

4) Recycle any metal can up to 1 gallon in size, as well as metal lids and foil. The exception: No yogurt lids.

5) No wire hangers or any other scrap metal in your recycle bin. Wire hangers jam the equipment at RIRRC, but can be recycled at most dry cleaners. Scrap metal can be taken to the Bristol transfer station.

6) Don’t completely flatten recyclable containers (cans, plastic bottles, etc.). The equipment at the Materials Recycling Facility can’t sort them properly when they are too flat. Light compaction is OK.

7) Glass is recyclable, but glass jars and bottles only. When recycling glass jars & bottles, remove the lids and include them in your recycle bin.

8) No styrofoam, straws or greasy parts of pizza boxes in your recycle bin.

9) Recycle paper and cardboard, but only if isn’t coated to repel water (e.g. refrigerated and frozen food boxes and hot coffee cups), and is free of food and grease. Milk, juice, and soup cartons can be recycled. Particle board and wood cannot be recycled.

10) Consult the Recyclopedia section of the RIRRC website for answers to almost every conceivable question about what is/isn’t recyclable, and for the best disposal options for items not accepted at the Eco-Depot. Many bulky items not accepted for weekly curbside pickup (lumber, scrap metal, etc.) can be taken to Bristol’s Transfer Station or to the Eco-Depot in Johnston for recycling.

Want to learn more? Come to our 3rd Bristol Recycles Day on Oct. 4th at the Bristol Transfer Station. Details to follow.

E. Keith Maloney – Bristol Recycles

Timothy Sweeney – Bristol Town Council

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4 Comments

  1. CM said:

    What people don’t know, and what the DEM and RIRRC are not telling us, is that there is almost no recycling going on by businesses in this state. The law requires businesses to recycle, but there isn’t any enforcement, so little of it is being done. A business which gets a trash dumpster must also get a recycling dumpster, but ONLY if the business has 50 or more employees; and since very few restaurants or stores have that many employees, most small businesses are simply trashing their recyclables. You might want to think of that the next time you eat out.

    In conversations with someone at the DEM, I’ve been told that there isn’t the “political will” to force businesses to recycle in this state. Personally, I don’t think that any businesses would relocate to Massachusetts just because they were made to recycle. Businesses MIGHT recycle much more if they could put their recyclables out for the town to take, but they are forbidden from doing so (unless the town agrees). With businesses doing little recycling, and with the general public recycling perhaps 40% of what they could recycle, I estimate that not more than 20% of the recyclables in this state are being recycled. What a pitiful situation.

    • ekm2x said:

      Valid concern. We are working with the Bristol Town Administrator and Director of Public Works to expand our recycling efforts to include businesses; we’ve had some success to date and will continue our efforts.

      • CM said:

        Here’s a simple plan: Allow businesses with less than 50 employees to put their recyclables out for the town to pick up (of course, you’ll have to make adjustments to the routes the trucks travel). Businesses with over 50 employees must have a recycling dumpster; and if they don’t get one, they should be fined. It’s my understanding that if a town sends more recyclables back to the RIRRC, they get money back. As far as your regular citizens are concerned, you should require them to put out a recycling bin with recyclables in it in order for their trash to be picked up.

  2. CM said:

    I forget to mention that Twin Rivers and Providence Place Mall, and other similar big businesses, are also not recycling because the DEM refuses to levy fines on them. Like I said: Pitiful.

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