Friday, April 1, 2011

Why is recycling plastic so complicated?

Ask Ida

Dear Ida B. Green,

Why do they keep going on and on about recycling "only No. 1 and No. 2 plastic bottles" when it would be easier to just say "plastic bottles" and make it clear for everyone?



Dear Bottleneck,

Every community has to develop a recycling program that is the most economical to run while offering the most options for their residents. Our local recycling station has partnered with our beloved Animal Shelter in an effort to make both institutions more financially secure.

The separation of plastics is consigned to dog "volunteers" from the Shelter who are able to pick out plastic bottles by their small tops when large tubs can be a bit too large and take-out plastics often get impaled on sharp teeth. Larger, hunting-type dogs could, of course, handle these problems but, as we know, they are the most adopted dog-type in the valley so they are not economical to train. The job is therefore reserved for handbag-sized dogs that are expected to have longer stays at the Shelter.

I love April Fools! Actually, there are many plastic bottles made from No. 3 to No. 7 resins (think baby bottle) that are not recycled like No. 1 and No. 2 bottles. No. 1 and No. 2 tubs also contain some of the same resins as No. 3 and No. 7 bottles, so they can not be recycled with No. 1 and No. 2 bottles.

Keep it Green,


—Elizabeth Jeffrey

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