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MailTribune.com
  • Yogurt tubs now may be recycled

  • We're having a dispute at our house that I hope you can help resolve peacefully. I distinctly remember reading that you are not supposed to recycle yogurt containers or any other plastic container that has an opening wider than its base. But my wife says the yogurt containers have the recycle symbol on them and that there's no reason not to put them in the red bin with the newspapers, cardboard, etc. What's the answer?
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  • We're having a dispute at our house that I hope you can help resolve peacefully. I distinctly remember reading that you are not supposed to recycle yogurt containers or any other plastic container that has an opening wider than its base. But my wife says the yogurt containers have the recycle symbol on them and that there's no reason not to put them in the red bin with the newspapers, cardboard, etc. What's the answer?
    — Lewis H., Medford
    If you've been married long, you should know the answer by now, Lewis. It's, "Yes, dear."
    And, in fact, your wife is right. Yogurt containers can be recycled along with all the other goodies that can be renewed rather than dumped in a landfill. To learn what's allowed and what isn't, see http://roguedisposal.com/commingle-recycling-services, where there's a list of do's and don't's.
    Just to reassure you that you weren't totally imagining things, it's true that yogurt containers and other plastic tubs were not accepted locally for a long time. But that changed in February of 2012, according to Denise Barnes, recycling coordinator for Rogue Disposal and Recycling.
    Barnes says plastic bottles and plastic tubs are now accepted. The containers are made of different types of plastic, with the tubs consisting of a thicker, lower-grade plastic that takes longer to melt down for recycling. They ask that lids not be included in the commingled recycling because it's easy for the flat lids to get mixed in with paper, which could gum up the works there.
    All the commingled recycling is sent out to a sorting facility, which separates it into paper, cardboard, plastic, etc.
    Barnes said the recycling information on various items — especially the number on plastic containers — is not necessarily an indication of whether it can be recycled. The number merely indicates the type of resin used, and the only way to be sure what can be recycled is to check on the type of containers your recycler handles.
    One other interesting tidbit, Lewis: Barnes says that while plastic recycling is still small compared with things such as newspapers, it has gotten a boost in recent years by the increased cost of oil, which is the basic ingredient in plastic.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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