Further clarifying recycling confusion

Judging by comments readers have sent us, confusion still reigns over recycling. It doesn’t help that the Portage County Solid Waste Management District’s website is outdated and misleading.

Here’s what we believe to be true at this time:

Aluminum cans and glass bottles (food residue removed) are acceptable. And then there’s plastic.

Do not go by the numbers on the bottom of plastic containers. If it is a tub, can, jug or bottle that contained food (and it is rinsed out), it can be recycled. So can plastic laundry detergent jugs.

However, plastic clamshell containers that held produce (fruit or greens) are not recyclable. Neither are plastic carry-out containers of any kind. It appears that no one accepts them.

Plastic grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, ice bags, plastic shipping envelopes, Ziploc and other re-closable food storage bags, salt bags, pallet wrap and stretch film, wood pellet bags, produce bags, and plastic stretch wrap may be taken to bins outside the Portage County Dog Warden’s Office on Infirmary Road. So can cereal box liners, bags from retailers, plastic e-commerce mailers and shipping envelopes, air pillows and the thin plastic that electronics often are wrapped in. The dog warden takes the items to Giant Eagle, which in turn contracts with a recycler that prepares the plastics for transformation in plastic Trex benches.

All receipts, stickers, food residue and crumbs must be removed because these items contaminate the bag load.

Check with your local Giant Eagle and Target stores to see if they participate in this program. Turns out some do, and some don’t. Also check with your local Lions Club as they are involved with this program as well.

According to their website, the Randolph Lions Club recycles bags: contact King Lion Mary at 330-221-4019. Five hundred pounds of plastic translates to one Trex bench, but it must be gathered within a six-month period.

The Portage Lions Club in Kent hosts a recycling trailer from 9 a.m. to noon the third Saturday of every month. Kent Lion Tony DeLuke told The Portager that a single recent collection event netted about 350 pounds of plastic, or more than half a bench.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.