Recycling programs typically aren’t the most financially-stable enterprises – just ask New York City residents. Recycling centers around the country staff their programs with real people, who get paid real money, and they must be operated as efficiently as possible or face closure. Can you and I affect that efficiency? You bet!

I just got off the phone with Debra from the Charleston County Solid Waste Department‘s Recycling Center. I asked her specifically about non-recyclable plastic lids from bottles and plastic windows from envelopes, and what happens when we leave them on. She said nothing happens. Really…nothing? So I asked if the bottles got thrown away. She assured me they didn’t, but rather someone on the processing line would remove the lids.

Eureka! The processing line! Now I was getting somewhere.

It turns out there is a large processing line where Recycling Center employees filter out non-recyclable items. They are actually removing the plastic lids, not to mention those little plastic envelop windows, from items we put in our bins. Again, these are real people, getting paid real (tax) money, to remove all this stuff we aren’t suppose to be sending to the recycling center in the first place.

See, we directly affect the efficiency of our recycling centers, and therefore we play an important role in their survival. The more junk we put in our bins, the more people have to be hired to remove it, and the more likely the program will get cut for not being successful. Removing lids saves tax money, and possibly the entire program.

So remove those lids and plastic envelop windows. While you’re at it, rinse out those bottles, don’t drop off plastics #3, #4, #5, and #6, and no pizza boxes! If you have any questions, just call the center at 720-7111 and ask – recycling is literally their business.



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