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Residents asked to avoid ‘wishful recycling’

Caroline Carlson | Daily Press Paula Derouin sorts recyclables at the Delta Wide Recycling center.

ESCANABA — Delta Solid Waste Management Authority (DSWMA) Manager Don Pyle said that recycling when you don’t know if an item is accepted can do more harm than good. “Wishful recycling,” as it’s known in the industry, happens when people drop off items they’re not sure are recyclable.

“All it does is contaminate what is good,” Pyle said. He urges people to “know before you throw.”

Delta Wide Recycling, the DSWMA’s recycling center, is located at 5701 19th Ave. North, Escanaba, along with the landfill and the county’s compost site. The recycling center accepts many commonly recycled items, and is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Aluminum cans and steel food cans can be put into the same recycling bin for collection. Labels don’t have to be removed from food cans, but cans must be rinsed well. When recycling a steel food can lid, the lid should be placed inside the can and the can crushed. Aluminum cans should not be crushed.

Aerosol cans can also be put into the recycling bin, so long as they are empty. Plastic lids that are not part of a steel aerosol can should be removed, but nozzles should not. Aerosol cans that have any material in them are a household hazardous waste and handled differently. Contact the DSWMA at 906-786-056 with questions about household hazardous waste, or visit dswma.org.

The recycling center accepts some plastic bottles. To identify the different types of plastic, residents should look for a number inside the recycle arrows on the bottles. The recycle center only accepts number one and two plastic. These items should be rinsed well and any caps should be discarded. Though it is not mandatory, the center prefers labels removed if possible.

Paper products can be recycled together and must be kept dry. The center prefers people bundle newsprint, paperback books, catalogs, magazines and phone books, but bagging is also allowed. Remove and discard phone book covers.

Office and mixed paper products, such as copy paper, computer paper, file folders, envelopes, forms, and letterhead should be bagged if they are pre-shredded. Paper clips and staples are allowed.

The center only accepts cardboard that is corrugated. It must be free of food contamination and less than 40-inches-wide.

Cardboard should be flattened and bundled.

Just as trash shouldn’t contaminate the recyclables, Pyle reminded people to keep recyclables out of the trash.

“Instead of taking an extra 30 seconds to empty a cardboard box and recycle it, they throw it in with the trash and waste the recyclable opportunity,” he said, pointing out that taking a little time can do a lot of good.

The center does not accept carbon paper, wax paper, transfer paper, tissue paper, paper towels, label backing sheets, rubber bands, or items contaminated with food waste. Wax-coated boxes, milk cartons, juice cartons, cake/cereal boxes, and beer or soda cartons are also not accepted.

The recycling center accepts tires for recycling, but there are additional fees for tires based on the type of tire and its weight.

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