Mary Zepeda: How do you recycle right? – Santa Maria Times

Mary Zepeda: How do you recycle right?


We all strive to be good stewards of the environment, so how do we know we are recycling right? Do you ever wonder what happens when you place non-recyclable materials in the recycling bin?

The key to recycling right is to understand what your waste hauler considers a recyclable material. If you’re not sure, download a recycling guide from your waste hauler’s website. When recycling at home: (1) recycle clean and dry bottles, cans, paper and cardboard; (2) keep food and liquid out of your recycling bin; and (3) keep loose plastic bags or bagged recyclables out of the recycling bin. By following these 3 rules and the waste hauler’s recycling guidelines, you will help reduce contaminated truck loads. Contaminated loads take more time to sort and increase the cost of processing, which leads to higher rates for all of us.

If your community is providing recycling locations, please follow the instructions on the dumpsters or posted within the recycling area. If a recycling dumpster is observed to be contaminated, then it is left onsite and reschedule for pickup as trash, and nothing gets recycled. Waste Management recently retrofitted each community recycling dumpster in Solvang with restrictive lids to help eliminate and reduce contamination. Since the lids were installed our waste haulers have seen a significant decrease in the amount of contamination at the community recycling locations. Great job! The lids are also preventing unwanted trash from scattering and becoming stormwater pollution.

So, what is considered a recyclable material? Below is a breakdown of recyclable and non-recyclable materials from both Waste Management and Marborg.

Solvang Residents: Waste Management considers the following material recyclable materials: Plastic – plastic bottles, jars, jugs and tubs; Paper & Cardboard – paper, junk mail, newspaper, magazines, phone books, paper bags, flatten cardboard/paperboard, food boxes; Metal – empty food & beverage cans (tin, aluminum and steel cans) and foil; Glass – jars & bottles; Food & Beverage Containers – empty milk cartons, non-wax coated juice boxes/food cartons; and Pizza Boxes – empty pizza boxes (no leftovers or liners).

Items NOT Accepted: bagged recyclables; plastic bags; plastic wraps and film (including bubble wrap and sandwich/freezer bags); flexible packaging (chip bags, juice boxes, soup pouches); garden hoses, rope, leashes, wire and string; dirty diapers; cups with plastic or wax coating; polystyrene foam and plastic; food waste; soiled paper towels; sharps (needles); scrap metal, auto parts and tires; household items (clothing/textiles, shower curtains, plastic swimming pools, fencing, furniture, appliances, electronics, batteries, and carpet) and green waste.

Buellton Residents: Marborg considers the following material recyclable: Plastic – empty beverage bottles with caps on, buckets, large plastic tubs, empty laundry detergent bottles, plastic flower pots and trays, plastic toys, rigid plastic greater than 6”; Paper & Cardboard – paper bags, non-waxed cardboard, cereal boxes and paperboard, computer and office paper, envelopes, junk mail, newspaper, packing and kraft paper, phonebooks; Metal – aluminum cans, aluminum foil and trays, caps and lids from bottles/jars/steel cans, empty paint cans, empty spray cans, scrap metal and metal parts; Glass – bottles/jars.

Items NOT Accepted: styrofoam; plastic bags & film plastic; saran/pallet wrap; food bags & wrappers; flexible plastic wrapping; plastic labeled compostable or biodegradable; yogurt cups; clear plastic produce or food containers; plastic straws, cups & utensils; paper food & beverage containers; milk cartons, tetrapack or aseptic containers; pizza boxes; waxed cardboard; kitchen glassware and other tempered glass; window glass.

Mary Zepeda works for MNS Engineers, Inc. as the Stormwater Program Coordinator for the Cities of Buellton and Solvang

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