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Chatham expands mixed plastic bottle recycling to all collection centers

Posted Thursday, March 5, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Waste Management Department has announced that recycling of mixed plastic rigid bottles will be expanded to each of its 12 collection centers in the county, effective March 2, 2009. This ensures that the county complies with a state ban on #1 to #7 rigid plastic bottles in landfills.

The collection centers will accept #1 to #7 rigid plastic bottles only. “We had hoped to include other types of #1 to #7 plastics, not just rigid bottles,” said Bob Holden, director of Waste Management. “Last June, we started a pilot program at the Cole Park Collection Center, which included other #1 to #7 plastics. However, we currently don’t have a market to accept non-bottle plastics.”

Holden said that the “pilot program provided very useful information about how much we need to watch out for items that don’t belong in the plastics recycling bin, such as plastic bags, glass bottles, containers of motor oil and metal cans. When this happens, we may have an entire shipment of plastics rejected. That company also may decide to stop accepting shipments of plastics from Chatham County.” The net effect is that it increases the cost of the recycling program and reduces Chatham County’s market options for recycling its plastics.

Holden said that residents can both save county money and promote effective recycling by making sure that they follow the rules about what should NOT be placed in the containers for #1 to #7 plastic bottles at the centers. Examples include:

Plastic tubs and cups, such as butter and yogurt containers, which are made from a different type of plastic than bottles;

Plastic bags, which should be taken to grocery stores and other retail stores that collect bags for recycling;

Styrofoam items;

Glass bottles; and

Any plastics that are not bottles labeled #1 to #7.

“We appreciate that Chatham County residents are active recyclers, but it actually hurts our recycling program if people put items in our collection containers that don’t belong there,” Holden said. “I used to think that the more than I put into the recycling bins, the more that I was supporting recycling, but only if I am sorting things correctly.”

For more information, please contact Waste Management at 919-542-5516.

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Chatham expands mixed plastic bottle recycling to all collection centers

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