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More disposal, less recycling

Rogue Disposal customers are being asked to clean up their recycling act.

Spurred by China's heightened concern over recyclables littered with trash, U.S. recycling exporters are demanding the same from local collectors such as Rogue Disposal.

As a result, Rogue Disposal is clamping down on what it will accept in its red-lid curbside recycling bins, and it will no longer pick up glass. People who want to recycle glass bottles and jars, up to one gallon, will have to take them to Ray's Food Place stores in Central Point, Jacksonville and Phoenix, Sherm's Food 4 Less in north Medford, Sherm's Thunderbird in west Medford, and the Rogue Disposal transfer station, 8001 Table Rock Road, White City.

Recology customers in Ashland and Talent won't see a change, a spokesman said. Recology curbside recycling, including glass, will continue being shipped to Eureka, California.

Beginning March 5, the only items allowed in Rogue Disposal's red-lid bins will be: Corrugated cardboard (the kind with the wavy middle layer); tin and aluminum cans (without lids); newspaper (including advertising inserts); and plastic milk jug-style containers (no lids).

Even though the burden of delivering glass to a collection point now rests on customers, your bill for trash collection won't be going down, said Gary Penning, Rogue Disposal's governmental affairs and marketing director.

"The relative costs remain for managing the recycling," Penning said. "We still have to process it."

With a variety of additional beverage containers falling under bottle-deposit rules at the beginning of 2018, Rogue Disposal anticipates more people will take beverage containers to the redemption center on Stowe Avenue, and less glass will go into trash bins and collection points, said Community Affairs Manager Laura Leebrick.

China considers glass a contaminant and no longer wants it, but Rogue Disposal has plenty of use for it, Penning said.

Glass collected from depots around the valley is crushed and packed around methane collection lines at the landfill.

"It works like a French drain, when you put rock over the top of the pipe," Penning said. "In this case, we use crushed glass instead of rock. We use all the glass we can process, it's just a supplement, and we could use more."

Operating days and times will remain the same for garbage trucks and the transfer station, Penning said.

"We still have to stop and dump carts," he said. "We don't see the number of stops and participation changing."

Other than newspaper and corrugated boxes, paper products no longer belong in the mix. Fiber-based products from cereal boxes, construction paper and junk mail are considered mere garbage.

While China is still taking cans, it's important they be cleaned first — especially pet food tins.

Even with more refuse destined for the dump, Penning said the impact will be minimal at Rogue Disposal's landfill, which has capacity for more than 100 years. But there are a lot of unknowns to be dealt with down the road.

"China consumes 60 percent of the material glut worldwide," he said. "We don't have any other ideas what to do with the rest of it. It's not marketable and needs to come out of recycling. It would be beneficial if someone could come up with a way to recycle it, but that could be years down the road."

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or gstiles@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

Calvin Wilhelm of Eagle Point recycles cardboard Tuesday at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in White City. Wilhelm says it is getting hard for the average person to know how to recycle. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]