Town of Vail offers recycling tips and tricks for the holidays (sponsored)
While cleaning up after opening presents this holiday season, take a moment to think about where this trash will go.
Wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbons, etc., are not recyclable and shouldn’t be put in recycling bins. “Even though people might think of wrapping paper as paper that can be recycled it has a lot of additives,” said Mark Hoblitzell, environmental sustainability coordinator with the town of Vail.
If you’re grabbing some caffeine to keep you going this holiday season, just know that paper-based coffee cups are usually lined with a membrane of polyethylene (plastic) to make them waterproof, but that means they are not recyclable alongside paper or cardboard, so those cups should be placed in a regular garbage can.
How about that carton of eggnog? Take a sip and look at your options: If you have Honeywagon or Waste Management single stream or mixed recycling at your home go ahead and put it in the recycling bin and celebrate. If you have to separate recycling or use the drop sites, unfortunately it has to be trashed.
The journey much of your recyclables takes is pretty amazing. The Eagle County Landfill near Wolcott houses the Materials Recovery Facility where recyclables are separated from each other in a highly technical manner. With the use of staff, optic and magnetic mechanisms, items are sorted into the correct bins. A “puff” of air blasts out plastics and a series of magnets pulls out the different metals. The goal is to have less than 10 percent contamination present in the final sorted and prepped product.
Hoblitzell said that the town of Vail’s recycling rate is 23 which is slightly above Eagle County’s recycling rate of 22 and well above Colorado’s recycling rate of 12 percent. But it still has some room to grow to reach or surpass the national recycling rate of 34 percent.
Some of the biggest contaminants are film plastics, plastic bags, coffee cups and Styrofoam. Many items are confusing as they have a number in the “chasing arrows” design. The numbers indicate the type of plastic and do not necessarily mean an item is recyclable. Generally consumer bottles and tubs made out of plastic, glass and metal can be recycled. Office paper, junk mail and corrugated cardboard are also can also be recyclable. Remember, when in doubt, leave it out and check signage at the sites or with your local hauler for more information. Sugar-based plastics such as 6 PLA cannot be recycled anywhere locally.
This fall, the climate action collaborative has launched the Eagle County Waste Wizard to help provide more information on whether or not items can be recycled and where they should go. Visit http://www.vailgov.com/waste or the app can be downloaded at the Apple Store or Google Play store
People can visit http://www.lovevail.org to learn about town recycling and other sustainability efforts.