Blaine recycling program takes more plastic

Blaine residents can cut their garbage collection bills by taking advantage of a trashy twist involving numbered plastics and city’s curbside recycling program.“Earlier this year, area processors began taking plastics one through seven,” said Roark Haver, Blaine solid waste program manager and recycling coordinator.

For example, plastic shopping bags and most plastic packaging can now be recycled in Blaine. Recycling carts can be filled with those items and much more.

“It’s going to take a while for people to understand all of the new plastics and what they are,” Haver said.

And according to Haver, it’s going to take a while for people to do something different with the materials they throw away.

“I would say by the end of this year, we’ll have a pretty good idea how much tonnage we’ve added,” he said.

The percentage of material that can be removed from the waste stream has gone up exponentially, Haver said. Now, just about everything consumers buy comes in packaging that can be recycled.

That is one reason why Blaine has expanded its recycling program to include different numbered plastics, Haver said.

“If you can take a material and get it into the recycling stream, it’s so much cheaper for the economy than using a raw material,” Haver said. “A lot of times, recycling is about raw materials capture. For example, it’s so much cheaper to recycle aluminum cans than go to a bauxite mine and ore it out of the ground.”

Here’s a running list of numbered plastic items Blaine residents can place in their recycling containers:

• Soft drink bottles, water and beer bottles, mouthwash bottles, peanut butter containers, salad dressing and vegetable oil containers and ovenproof food trays;

• Milk jugs, juice bottles, bleach, detergent, household cleaner bottles, shampoo bottles, shopping bags, butter/yogurt containers and cereal box liners;

• Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging and wire jacketing;

• Squeezable bottles, frozen food containers, dry cleaning and shopping bags; yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, bottle caps, straws and medicine bottles;

• Disposable plates and cups, meat trays (please rinse), egg cartons, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases, three-gallon and five-gallon water bottles, bullet-proof materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, display signs, clam shell food containers and nylons.

The No. 1 through No. 7 recycling symbols are easy to find, Haver said, because they are embossed on most container bottoms.

“There are more tons of material we can get out of the waste stream,” he said.

For example, residents who might be using more garbage service than they need and not recycling as much material as they could can now recycle even more plastic, and move down from a couple of 90-gallon carts to either one 60-gallon or a 30-gallon cart, Haver said.

If residents want an additional recycling cart, they should call Veolia Environmental Services at 763-786-7233, Haver said.

“They will get you on the list to bring out an additional recycling cart or change the cart size,”  he said. “Ideally, you can save money on your garbage bill by going to a smaller service and recycling more.”

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]