Recycling Know-Nos ~ Back to Fundamentals

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Like a professional athlete, one must repeatedly practice the fundamentals whether it’s batting practice or shooting free throws.

The same is true in the world of recycling.

One of the fundamental activities Bedford’s recyclers must do week in and week out is not to put recycling in plastic bags or put any type of plastic bag or plastic wrap in the recycling cart.

“All plastic bags are discarded at the recycling facility regardless of their contents,” said Ed McGrath, Bedford’s Recycling Coordinator.

“If you bag your recyclables in your home, empty the bag into your recycling carts. Otherwise, all your efforts go for naught.”

McGrath travels around town on collection day. He sees some good things and some bad things which remind him to get back to the fundamentals.

“Besides no plastic bags in the recycling cart, residents should rinse and empty their containers,” McGrath said.

“Food waste is a major source of contamination and the liquid in a container contaminates the paper and cardboard items.”

McGrath thinks there is some confusion with regard to Styrofoam packaging.

Styrofoam is not part of Bedford’s curbside recycling program and residents should dispose of it in the trash.

He hopes to add a Styrofoam collection at some point in the future but it won’t happen in the near future.

McGrath said he also sees residents leaving cardboard and other recyclables next to the recycling cart.

Under the new contract with Republic Services, the recycling truck drivers do not get out of the truck to pick up any recyclables on the ground.

“I often see a pile of cardboard next to the recycling cart. I get that it’s hard to cut boxes down to size to fit in the cart,” said McGrath. “That’s why we installed a recycling container for cardboard at the DPW on Great Road.”