Dear Recycle Lady: Thursday, October 7 - West Virginia Daily News
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Dear Recycle Lady: Thursday, October 7

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Dear Recycle Lady,

For several months now we have been unable to recycle #1 black/brown/blue trays at the Recycling Center. What about #2 dark brown bottles that had Hershey’s syrup in it? Can it be recycled? — Puzzled

Dear Puzzled,

Yes, dark brown #2 bottles can be recycled. They go in the bag or bin with #2 colored bottles and jugs. Be sure they are clean and dry, and the cap is removed. Black #1 trays are not recyclable because most plastic recyclers can’t use them. Infrared can’t penetrate black plastic, so there is no way to determine what type of plastic they are made from. Additionally, most of the black plastic trays are microwavable and are made of a different type of plastic that is not easy to recycle.

Dear Recycle Lady,

When I removed the white cap from a plastic bottle a small white plastic band remained on the bottle that I am unable to remove. Can plastic bottles be recycled with the bands still on the top of the bottles? Why can’t bottles be recycled with the top on? — Top or No Top

Dear Top or no Top,

Yes, plastic bottles can be recycled with the white plastic band still on the bottle. However, be sure to remove the cap before recycling. Since bottles and caps are made of two different kinds of plastics, they can’t be recycled together, as they have different melting points when processed. Large cities can recycle bottles with the caps on, but it takes specialized equipment with a pressurized system to remove the caps and flatten the bottles. Our local Recycling Center doesn’t have this equipment, so all caps must be removed.

Dear Recycle Lady,

Why can’t #1 plastics, such as clamshells and plastic boxes, be recycled with #1 plastic bottles? — Don’t Understand the Reasoning

Dear Don’t Understand the Reasoning,

The Recycle Center does not accept #1 plastic clamshells, boxes, or trays because the company that buys our #1 plastics accepts only #1 bottles and jugs. If #1 plastics, other than bottles and jugs, were to get mixed into a bale of bottles and jugs, the buyer could return the bale to us, at our expense; an event that would be very costly. The main reason #1 plastics, such as clamshells and trays, are not recycled with #1 bottles is that shells and bottles are processed differently, resulting in two different grades of plastic with two different uses.

Dear Readers,

Did you know that the ocean provides over half of our breathable oxygen? Microscopic marine plants, called phytoplankton, provide most of this breathable oxygen: a very important reason why we need to protect our oceans from plastic pollution, as well as all the marine life who call the sea home.

Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to recyclelady@greenbrier-swa.com . Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.

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