▶️ Reduce, re-use, recycle – but solid waste managers say make sure you’re doing it right


Recycling in the New Year comes with a renewed emphasis on knowing what is and isn’t recyclable.

“This paper cup, this paper carton and what’s called a Tetra pack. These are paper lined with plastic to hold liquids which means there are multiple materials and all of these papers are trash,” said Ani Kasch, Rethink Project Waste coordinator.

Throw the wrong thing in your recycling bin and the whole load is considered “contaminated” and none of it can be recycled.

“I think people want to do the right thing,” said Susan Baker, Republic Services municipal managers. “We are really trying to push the message of recycling right which is to follow your local recycling program. We still see contamination with plastic bags and Styrofoam.

Here’s what is recyclable in Deschutes County in 2020:

  • Paper such as newspaper, junk mail, phone books, magazines, soda & beer cartons and paper bags. Cardboard falls in this category and right now, after the holidays, lots of cardboard is being recycled.
  • Plastics such milk jugs, plastic water bottles and tubs six ounces or larger, but throw away the lids
  • Tin and aluminum cans and jar lids, beverage cans, foil, pie tins & TV dinner trays. They must all be free of food waste.

The list of no no’s include plastic bags, food, batteries, frozen food boxes, styrofoam and clothing.

For those who wish more items were recyclable, the Environmental Center encourages people to find new ways to re-use products

“There are things like re-usable sandwich containers. Reusable diapers,” Kasch said. “There are reusable bags which is very timely given the plastic bag ban that just went into effect a couple of days ago. Of course reusable water bottle and coffee cup.”

Everything else that can’t be recycled ends up in the Deschutes County’s Knott landfill which is forecast to reach capacity this decade

“2029 is the expected date that we’ll be at capacity here. Now that can change depending own growth,” said Timm Schimke, Deschutes County Solid Waste Director. “We’ve anticipated a certain amount of growth. We get more growth, we get less time. We get less growth, that stretches the time a little longer.”

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