Dorchester County is paying huge fees needlessly for recycling. While the recycling measures suggested by the council are great and should be implemented, there is more that we can do.
I, along with other members of our Sierra Club Lower Eastern Shore Group, toured the recycling center in Delaware which is the final destination for our recycling. Here is some of what we learned:
- Never put recyclables in plastic bags and leave them in the recycling bins. When they get to the Delaware facility, they are pulled out and dumped in their landfill because plastic bags break their recycling machines, and it costs a great deal of time and money to fix them. If we banned plastic bags from the recycling drop-off bins, we would not have to pay so much to transport material that is not going to be recycled anyway. https://youtu.be/PDDihXzoaa4
- Never put food in the recycling bins. For example, many people leave cheese in their discarded pizza boxes. In fact, some people even leave leftover slices of pizza in them. Peanut butter jars need to be clean as well. When we put food in the recycling bins, it contaminates the whole load, so the contents of the bin must be thrown in the landfill. Avid recyclers often put dirty jars and bottles in the dishwasher along with the dishes before recycling them to prevent this problem.
- Only plastics 1, 2, and 5 are recyclable. Please check the bottom of the item to look for the number. If it is not a 1, 2, or 5, it cannot be recycled. An incredible amount of unrecyclable plastic is placed in our recycling bins every day. Plastic toys can frequently be seen as well, but unfortunately, we can only recycle plastic jars and bottles at the present time.
There is absolutely no reason for Dorchester County to pay for nonrecyclables that will only be transported to Delaware to be thrown away.
The county does not even have to hire anyone to advise them. Environmental groups, such the Sierra Club, will help for free.
Folks in our county have good intentions. They just do not know how to recycle correctly, so they put things in the bins just in case they can be recycled, in other words, they are “wishcycling.” If we educate our residents so that they recycle correctly, Dorchester County will save a lot of money.