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One man's trash, another's recycling

Rogue Disposal and Recycling has provided some clarity in the confusion over what can and can't be recycled these days, and that's a good thing. It was getting confusing trying to decide what to put in the red-topped commingle recycling bin every other week and what to toss in the trash can.

The confusion is the result of the decision by China, whose recycling industry has consumed over half the world's recyclable materials, to crack down on what it would accept. The Chinese got tired of receiving shipments contaminated with too much worthless material.

Rogue Disposal now will ask customers, starting March 5, to limit what they place in their red-topped bins: corrugated cardboard, tin and aluminum cans without lids, plastic milk jugs and other white or clear containers without lids and — I'm happy to report — newspaper.

That leaves consumers who still want to recycle non-returnable glass bottles and jars to make the extra effort to haul those to designated drop-off sites at local grocery stores: Ray's Food Place, Food 4 Less and Thunderbird. (Once again, the community-minded Olsrud family steps up to fill a need).

Recycling-minded readers may need to be diligent, however, to find those glass drop-off sites.

I'm a big fan of the new Bottle Drop system for returnable beverage containers, even though it requires a trip out to Stowe Avenue off Rossanley Drive. When I learned I could take glass to Thunderbird, at Ross Lane and West Main Street, I decided to combine the two into one trip — less gas! More energy-efficient!

The Bottle Drop stop went smoothly as always (more on that later). But when I walked in to Thunderbird to ask where the glass bin was, I encountered blank stares. Evidently no one had informed the staff. Eventually, a manager was located who remembered hearing about red bins in the far corner of the parking lot. And there they were — right off Lozier Lane at the southeast corner of the lot. Now that I know where the bins are, future trips will go more quickly.

As for the Bottle Drop facility, I've heard plenty of grumbling over the fact that you can no longer return bottles to many grocery stores to recover the deposit. But I have to say, except for the extra drive to Stowe Avenue, the drop-off system is a huge improvement.

If you really want to stand and feed sticky bottles and cans into machines yourself, you can still do that. But if you sign up for the drop-off service, you'll be issued a roll of green plastic bags and a strip of barcode stickers linked to your account, along with a card and a key fob, also with your barcode. Fill the bag, put one of the stickers on it, and drop it in the hopper on the outside of the Bottle Drop building, 24 hours a day. Staff there will count the containers for you — no muss, no fuss — and credit your account. When you go grocery shopping, a Bottle Drop kiosk in the store will read your barcode and print out a voucher with your credited amount on it. Use it at the checkout just like cash. Now that the deposit has gone to 10 cents per container, it actually adds up to something.


Rogue Disposal says the only plastic it will accept for recycling is milk jugs or other jugs, white or clear, that are shaped exactly like a milk jug.

— Reach Editorial Page Editor Gary Nelson at gnelson@rosebudmedia.com.