Solid Waste Authority reminds residents about recyclables — and what not to place in the bin

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UTICA — Ten years ago, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority invested $10 million to upgrade our two-county Recycling Center, making it a state of the art “single stream” facility. This single stream program, named “RecycleOne – One and Done,” was designed to make curbside recycling easier by removing the requirement to separate paper from plastic, metal and glass containers in the recycling bin.

Since 2011, all single stream recyclables can be placed loosely in one container, with no plastic bags, string or twine.

This “RecycleOne – One and Done” upgrade made recycling more convenient for residents and businesses, and the Authority has been able to recover 15% more recyclables at the Recycling Center than before. To date, we have processed over 1 million tons of recyclables – the weight equivalent of keeping 4,700 Statues of Liberty out of the landfill.

Although you can now place all mixed recyclables together in one bin, there are still some items that can only be recycled at drop-off locations.

Below are some items that are recyclable, but should NEVER be placed in your recycling bin:

Electronics – Items such as televisions, computers, laptops, printers, VCR/DVD players, cable boxes and more, are accepted at both Authority EcoDrops 6 days a week, year-round, free of charge to residents in Oneida and Herkimer Counties. The electronics collected are sent to a dismantler, and must be handled carefully. Broken glass, leaking/damaged batteries, and large size electronics can be dangerous to handle, transport and separate. If these items enter the Recycling Center and go through the sorting system, they could injure employees. Electronics that are improperly disposed of can also catch fire. Please recycle your electronics by delivering them to the Authority’s EcoDrop facilities, not in your recycling container!

Scrap Metal – Items such as pipes, metal ladders, microwaves, sheet aluminum, pots and pans and more are accepted at both Authority EcoDrops 6 days a week, year-round, free of charge. Placing these items in your recycling bin can injure employees and damage equipment at the Recycling Center. Never place scrap metal in your RecycleOne container.

Plastic Film – Items such as bubble wrap, plastic grocery store bags, resealable sandwich/snack bags, cereal bags, plastic air pillows and bread bags are not accepted through the RecycleOne program. Plastic film acts as a tangler and can get wrapped around or stuck in the recycling equipment, causing mechanical issues at the Recycling Center. Some large retail stores have plastic film collection bins available for you to recycle plastic film, just make sure the material is clean and dry. Visit the Authority’s website at www.ohswa.org for a list of drop-off locations. If you are unable to bring plastic film for recycling at a retail location, please place in your regular garbage, not your recycling bin.

“Every item that is placed in a recycling bin in Oneida and Herkimer Counties ends up at the Authority’s Recycling Center in Utica. If items that we cannot process make it to the sorting equipment at the facility, they can become a major safety and quality concern,” stated Samantha Brown, Authority Recycling Coordinator. “For items that are not accepted through RecycleOne, you may be able to recycle them at the Authority EcoDrops or at a drop off location in the community. Check out the Reuse & Recycle Programs section on our website to learn more,” she continued.

The Authority appreciates recycling efforts in our region and is pleased to report that Oneida and Herkimer Counties have a 52% recycling rate, much higher than the national average of 32%. Waste reduction, proper recycling and proper disposal of waste preserves landfill space and conserves valuable natural resources and energy.

For more information on recycling and waste disposal, please visit www.ohswa.org or contact (315) 733-1224. The Authority also encourages residents and businesses to visit www.AmIRecyclable.com, which provides users with a tool to quickly search thousands of items for proper recycling and disposal methods.

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