To the editor:
Plastic bags are the top nuisance at recycling facilities.
They get caught in the machinery and workers have to remove them one by one. Plastic bags are not now nor ever have been acceptable in the curbside recycling. Our hauler has received complaints from the facility that our materials are brought to.
Please avoid using plastic bags of any kind and simply set your recycling into a recycle bin for pick up. You can even use a plastic 32 gallon barrel for your plastics, tin and glass, you just need to label the container or pick up a recycle bumper sticker at the DPW and make sure it doesn't weigh more than 50 pounds. You may also purchase recycling bins for $5 each at the DPW, located at 28 Poplar St.
Gloucester's recycling is picked up "dual-stream," which means it is required that we sort our recyclables.
For example, steel/tin and metal food cans, aluminum pie plates and trays, and beverage cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic water, milk soda and juice bottles, shampoo, conditioner laundry, bleach/fabric softener bottles, gable/waxy cartons (orange juice and cream containers) can all be mixed together in one container.
Please remember that plastic bags of any kind, cookware, metal items, coat hangers, mirrors, drinking glasses, styrofoam packaging of any kind, plastic toys, Rubbermaid or Tupperware containers are not accepted in curbside collection.
Mixed paper products should be placed in a brown paper bag next to or on top of the bin. Types of items in this category are newspapers, magazines, junk mail, books (remove hard covers) paper bags, phone books, office/computer paper, boxboard products such as cereal and cracker boxes (remove the liners). Food soiled paper/boxes, plastic bags, paper towels, tissues, and napkins are not accepted in curbside collection.
Cardboard is mandatory for recycling in Massachusetts. The guidelines for this are, cardboard must be separate from your trash and put out with your recycling.
Break down, flatten or fold boxes, cartons and other pieces of cardboard into 3-by-3-by-1-foot bundles and tie them together. Do not put cardboard out loose in your recycling bin. Tie or tape it and leave it on top or alongside your recycling bin.
We cannot afford to have our recycling loads rejected at the recycling plant. If a load is rejected, it could mean one or two things: the entire truck would have to be sorted by hand, which costs time and money, or the load would have to be dumped as trash which — at $73 per ton tipping fee — would be quite costly and would defeat the whole recycling effort.
Only with your help can we reach our recycling goals. Each item that is removed from the waste stream reduces our trash disposal costs, enabling us to use that money for other important city services all while helping to preserve our environment, too.
City of Gloucester