Recycle Like a Local from the Beginning

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((Left) Clamshells, including the plastic ones for berries and the paper ones for your take out, are NOT recyclable in your curbside carts in Deschutes County. All clamshells should go in the trash. (Right) Ever wonder where your recycling goes after it leaves the curb? This is the inside of a MRF (materials recovery facility) in Portland where all our recycling goes to be hand and machine sorted, including trash removal | Photos Courtesy of Rethink Waste)

Bend is the third fastest-growing city in the nation. When you ask the question, “Where are you from?” to those around you at work, at daycare or at your favorite food cart pod, chances are very good the answer will not be Deschutes County. Bend is an amazing destination that people are discovering every day, and they are realizing that they want to be part of our community. Who can blame folks for coming here? I’m not from here either!

But the important thing to remember for folks moving from one community to another is that things may be done differently than where you come from. Whether it’s about honking your horn (we don’t really do that much in Oregon, except when it’s actually an emergency) or mountain bike trail etiquette (those traveling uphill here have the right of way!). And another thing: how to recycle right. 

Recycling diverts valuable material from the landfill, and that’s important. Deschutes County’s Knott Landfill (our only disposal option in the county) is projected to be full by 2029. Also, international recycling markets have been interrupted. Not to mention we’re in the middle of a pandemic that has a lot of people scared about reuse and Bringing-Your-Own, despite the research showing reusables that are washed are not a threat of COVID transmission. Now more than ever, it’s important for us to recycle AND to do it correctly. Here are a few tips for how to recycle right in your curbside mixed cart in Deschutes County:

DOs:

  • Plastics accepted: bottles, tubs and jugs — no lids
  • Paper accepted: office paper, junk mail, paperboard and cardboard
  • Metal accepted: tin and aluminum cans
  • Keep your recyclables loose — don’t bag it up
  • Make sure your recyclables are clean and dry
  • Keep glass separate

DON’Ts:

  • We do NOT “recycle by number”
  • The universal recycling symbol does NOT mean something is recyclable, it tells us what kind of chemicals are in the material
  • NO cups of any kind (neither paper nor plastic)
  • NO plastic clamshells
  • NO plastic film of any sort in your curbside bin

Don’t be a wishful recycler: know what goes in and what stays out. For more information about recycling, to sign up for our newsletter or to download the Rethink Waste Guide, visit envirocenter.org/programs/rethink-waste-project.

Rethink Waste Project is an Environmental Center program partnering with Deschutes County’s Department of Solid Waste and local garbage service providers to deliver consistent and accurate waste reduction information to all residents in the county. Contact Ani Kasch: ani@envirocenter.org with questions or to set up a free virtual presentation. 

envirocenter.org

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