By Kim Siebert MacPhail
Last week The Bedford Citizen published an article about Bedford’s new trash system. Readers responded with questions that prompted further research into the recycling process.
Q: How are recycled containers processed?
A: “Bedford’s recycling is collected and taken to the recycling facility in Hooksett, NH owned by the town’s contracted hauler (Allied Waste). The facility sorts the recyclables using a variety of technologies including magnets, blowers, electric eddy currents, optical sorting and manual sorting. The separated products are baled and shipped to multiple markets in the US and other countries.
The recycling companies are always seeking to expand their markets for materials so new materials are often added to the list of acceptable items.” ~ from Bedford’s Recycling Directory, found on the DPW website https://www.town.bedford.ma.us/index.php/departments/public-works/dpw-refuse-recycling
Q:Can labels and metal rings be left on containers?
A: According to the Recycling Directory, there is no need to remove labels or metal rings.
Q:If you’re not sure about whether something can be recycled and you put it in the bin, does it increase processing costs or hurt the system?
A: The only thing that really messes up the system is plastic bags. They can be recycled at grocery stores. Almost anything else—if it is not an accepted item— will be removed at the processing center.
Q: Do you need to clean the containers before putting them in the recycling bin?
A: The DPW staff says that it is best to rinse containers but you do not have to thoroughly clean them before recycling.
Q:What about shelf-safe milk containers?
A: Yes, that type of container has recently been added to the list of allowable items.
Q:And Styrofoam trays on which meat, vegetables and fruits are often packaged?
A: No Styrofoam of any kind is allowable.
Q: How do we recycle batteries?
A: Button-style batteries for hearing aids, cameras, watches and the like contain mercury and mercury is a hazardous waste.
Other mercury-containing items include:
- Old style thermometers with silver liquid.
- Older thermostats with a cylinder inside containing silver liquid.
- All fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
All of the above mercury items may be brought to the Department of Public Works, Monday – Friday, 8am-4pm.
Rechargeable batteries (nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, lithium, lead-acid, small sealed lead-acid batteries) are considered hazardous. These batteries— as well as used cell phones— can be taken to a local Radio Shack, Staples, O’Connor’s Hardware, Home Depot or other retailer that is a member of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (visitwww.rbrc.orgfor details).
The town also contracts with Lexington to dispose of a multitude of household hazardous waste items. Pre-registration through the Bedford Board of Health is required prior to participation. For a complete list of accepted hazardous items, visit the Recycling Directory https://www.town.bedford.ma.us/index.php/departments/public-works/dpw-refuse-recycling
Collection hours at the Lexington site on Hartwell Avenue are from 9AM to 2 PM on the following dates:
- Saturday, July 21
- Saturday, August 18
- Sunday, September 16
- Saturday, October 20
- Saturday, November 10
- Saturday, April 20, 2013
- Saturday, May 18, 2013
- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Household alkaline batteries (D-cell, C-cell, A, AA, AAA-cells) are now free of mercury and can be safely disposed of in the regular refuse.
Q:The town is hiring a 16-hour/week Recycling Coordinator. How will this person make the cost of hiring her/him worthwhile?
Selectman Mike Rosenberg responds: “It is the hope that the position would at least pay for itself.Even though we’ve improved our recycling percentages, there’s still a long way to go. We also don’t have a lot of excess staff in terms of town employees—it’s the same staff numbers as 10 years ago so it’s not easy to add more duties to the existing staff.”