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Recycling options for envelopes are limited

When I recycle envelopes with cellophane windows, do I have to tear the cellophane out or can I put in the whole envelope? I’m with Southern Oregon Sanitation, not Rogue Disposal. Some of their rules haven’t changed yet, but they will be soon.

— Tom, Eagle Point

As you know, Tom, customers and garbage companies are facing a number of new recycling restrictions.

Southern Oregon Sanitation office manager Colleen Kaylor said the company will be imposing new restrictions on its customers. Paper will no longer be accepted in commingle bins, so she urges customers to start practicing now and stop putting white office paper, envelopes and other types of paper in bins.

“There’s no market for that material. If nobody wants it, we can’t get rid of it. There are no buyers for it,” Kaylor explained.

Newspapers can still be put in the commingle recycle bin because there is a market for that type of paper, she said.

Southern Oregon Sanitation does not accept regular paper or mail at its transfer stations, according to its website, www.sosanitation.com, which contains additional information about current recycling rules.

Rogue Disposal & Recycling no longer accepts regular paper in curbside bins, although newspaper is still acceptable, according to a customer service representative with that company.

White paper and envelopes can be taken to Rogue Disposal’s transfer station at 8001 Table Rock Road. Customers don’t have to rip the cellophane windows out of the envelopes, the representative said.

Magazines and catalogs cannot be dropped off at the transfer station, she said.

The Rogue Disposal website, roguedisposal.com, has a handy field where people can type in the thing they want to dispose of or recycle — such as office paper or glass — then click the search button.

Toilet paper rolls, for example, need to be thrown in the curbside trash cart under Rogue Disposal rules.

Markets for recyclables have dried up in large part because China has imposed restrictions on recyclables that once fed the country’s manufacturing industries. Chinese officials decided the recyclables were too contaminated with garbage and other nonrecyclables, turning the country into the globe’s garbage dump.

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 get so many questions we can’t answer them all, but we’ll try.