Vague Markings Make Sorting Difficult at Recycling Facilities

Considering the amount of matter that gets taken to landfills and recycling facilities, it is to be expected that much of it isn’t sorted correctly.

What kind of stuff? Plastic bags, toy dolls, straws caps, and many more things-- all non recyclable for different reasons but all there. Some are too difficult to sort, others, like plastic bags, get wound up in the machinery, causing workers to have to spend time cutting through tightly wrapped plastic. 

This is the case in Portland, OR for Far West Fibers. They handle three quarter’s of Portland’s recycling and about 2.5% of it ends up in a landfill because it’s not recyclable. A big part of the problem is that many items are marked with the chasing arrows symbol and shouldn’t be. There aren’t enough regulations in place to remedy this.

There is machinery in place to sort metal; aluminum, plastic and trash get removed by hand. After that only cardboard and paper are left. But there are many items that are seemingly recyclable, which aren’t. Like paper coffee cups, which are covered in a water-resistant coating. This coating does not allow the paper to soak and later disintegrate, which is a crucial part of the recycling process.

The workers at the facility know that there are definitely trash items caught in the trash that’s been sorted out, but it is not time or cost effective to go through those heaps. So, many recyclable items end up going to the landfill as well.

Many of these items, which should be handled by a junk removal service, end up in the wrong place due to honest mistakes. 

Whether people are recycling computers or items that are unusual and seemingly unable to be recycled, there is always an eco-friendly alternative make the most out of the trash and unwanted items that come from our homes.

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