#361–Recycling is as easy as 1, 2, 3 . . .

In the news today, I heard that both Berkeley and New York City were cutting off new natural gas hookups in new building construction–-particularly housing. They are encouraging all electric. That means that the central Oregon coast is so far behind that we’re actually ahead of the curve. We’ve never had natural gas available. So, those of us with fully electric houses are now in the forefront.

The BottleDrop green bag program is fairly new to the Florence area.

Speaking of being in the forefront, when it comes to recycling, Oregon has prided itself on being in the forefront. Right now, I sort my recycling into three categories: 1) the deposit returns; 2) the sorted stuff––cardboard, newspaper, cans, glass, some plastics, scrap metal, etc; and 3) all the other plastics.

1. Bottle Return––For years, I’d save my plastic water and V-8 juice bottles and my glass root beer, Guinness, and tonic water bottles because I’d paid a 10-cent deposit on each one, and I wanted it back. When I had a bunch, I’d take them to Fred Meyer here in Florence, where I do my grocery shopping. Very handy.

For the last couple years, they have limited to 24 containers per visit. I had a couple bags with 24 containers each in my car last week, when I was going to do my grocery shopping and planned to take one in that day and the second one the next day. I discovered things had changed. Now, you have to sign up for their BottleDrop program with its large green bags. They have had it for awhile, but there was always the other option. Not so anymore.

Apparently, you sign up at a kiosk within the store and buy 10 bags for $2, which will be deducted from your account. Each bag is about the size of a 13-gallon kitchen bag and holds about 67 bottles. There will be a location to dump the whole bag, instead of one at a time. When redeeming the bags, there is a 40-cent fee per bag. You receive a voucher at the store’s kiosk, which you can take to a checker or customer service and redeem. Sounds simple enough, but . . .

I watched a friend try to get tags for his bags with no success––just lots of frustration. I don’t know about the tags, which I assume are needed before returning the bags. At any rate, now I’m torn between signing up for the green bag BottleDrop at Freddies or just dropping off my bags of deposit returns for Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, which I do from time to time. They have a handy place in back for returns. Besides, it is one of the cause’s I contribute to, so why not!

2. Sorted Recycling––The sorted recycling can be picked up by the garbage service provider or you can take it yourself to the recycling center here in Florence at the Lane County Transfer Station. I still refer to it as “the dump.” Sorry! It has been so upgraded this past year, I thought a new highway was going in leading to a new subdivision. It turned out to be a very upgraded recycling area. After all that, recycling is still free.

About every seven weeks or so, I load up the car with my recycling and my garbage and head to “the dump.” I’ve done it for 37 years. Where I live, we have bears that love to knock over garbage containers and rummage through the garbage. When they finish, a big mess is strewn all over the road, which nobody appreciates. So, I simply divide my bags of garbage from my two trash cans into three large garbage bags and put two in the trunk and one in the passenger seat. Then I load up my recycling that is all sorted and take off. I have compost bins for my wet garbage, so I feel okay about transporting my dry garbage in my car.

EcoGeneration is held at the Siuslaw Middle School. Always a great turn out.

For the recycling, I put newspapers, magazine/catalogs, flattened boxes (like cereal boxes), other paper, cans, and some #2 plastic bottles and jars in the co-mingled dumpster. Cardboard, glass, and scrap metal/appliances are in separate locations but all easy walking distance from my parked car.

3. EcoGeneration Recycling Take Back for Plastics––This group comes to Florence about three times a year and works with local volunteers. Everything needs to be clean, dry, and sorted by number. And many have to have the label removed.

#1 jugs and bottles, the type with threaded, screw-on caps, DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE THEIR LABELS REMOVED and neither do nutritional packaging, like over-the-counter supplements and medications (not prescription bottles, though). Love these #1s.

This makes removing labels and their sticky residue possible.

#2,#4, and #5 plastics need to be clean, dry, and have no labels. I remove labels at the time I empty each one. I don’t let them accumulate. It’s much easier to remove one label, than 100 or more. I keep a spray bottle of Goo Gone and a Nitrile glove handy under the sink. I have found the secret to removing labels is to go slow. After the label or as much of it as I can is removed, I use Goo Gone to get rid of any sticky residue and/or any portion of label that is left. Wipe clean with a paper towel and then wash with the rest of the dishes, but not in the dishwasher.

For the “clamshells” that berries and bakery goods come in, they have to be clean, dry, and all labels removed. (I use my method, but some folks use an Exacto knife and cut out the label.) They will only be accepted by EcoGeneration in a large brown bag, what I would call a grocery-store size bag. Here’s the bad news; each brown paper bag costs the recycler $20 to recycle. Also, in the bag can be plastic bags, up to a gallon-size bag of plastic screw-on caps, ink cartridges, pens and markers––all stuff that is more difficult for EcoGeneration to find a place to recycle.I always have at least one brown paper bag. For questions about accepted materials, visit EcoGeneration.org.

Now you know! Recycling is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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