Looking for Options in Plastics Recycling

MR_Logo_SmallWhen it comes to recycling household waste, we often look no farther than our county or city trash disposal system.  If this system accepts all of our recyclables, then there is little need to look further.  But if your waste disposal service only accepts some forms of recyclables, you may want to find a facility that will keep the remainder of the recyclables out of the landfill.

In Cocke County, our Convenience Centers only accept #1 and #2 plastics (soda bottles and milk jugs – and similar) #3 through #7 plastics go into the dumpsters headed for the landfill.  But, it’s doesn’t have to happen that way.

Local residents don’t have to drive to Morristown or Knoxville either, for we have two recycling companies right here in Newport that will buy plastics for recycling.  Sonoco Products at 766 Industrial Rd, Newport [map] and Miller Recycling LLC at 810 Thinwood Drive [map].  Information on Sonoco was not available, but Miller Recycling accepts the following plastics as well as cardboard and mixed metals.

  1. PET – Polyethylene terephthalate – Fizzy drink bottles and oven-ready meal trays.
  2. HDPE – High-density polyethylene – Bottles for milk and washing-up liquids.
  3. PVC – Polyvinyl chloride – Food trays, cling film, bottles for squash, mineral water and shampoo.
  4. LDPE – Low density polyethylene – Carrier bags and bin liners.
  5. PP – Polypropylene – Margarine tubs, microwaveable meal trays.
  6. PS – Polystyrene – Yogurt pots, foam meat or fish trays, hamburger boxes and egg cartons, vending cups, plastic cutlery, protective packaging for electronic goods and toys.
  7. OTHER – Any other plastics that do not fall into any of the above categories. – An example is melamine, which is often used in plastic plates and cups.

Similar companies can be found in most counties, but they may not be evident to the average resident.  You will need to look in the local Yellow Pages (or an on-line equivalent) or check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see what local companies are involved in recycling.

The biggest problem with this is that many of these companies are not set up to accept small quantities from the public at large: most work with local businesses to collect materials by the bin-full.  But by talking to these companies you can discover if they have clients such as schools, hospitals or libraries that will accept waste from the public as a donation.  Your local supermarket may consider installing collection bins in the parking lot if enough of their customers make such a request.

Failing that, neighborhoods can organize to collect the orphaned plastics until they have enough to make a minimum acceptance amount.

P-PPPlastics do need to be separated by category (the number in the arrow-triangle stamped into the bottom of nearly all plastic containers) to prevent cross-contamination.  Getting plastics of one type mixed in with plastics of another type seriously lowers the product’s usability when they are chipped up and melted down.

For businesses that want to improve their eco-friendliness, partnering with a recycling company does offer some other benefits.  Miller Recycling lists these:

  • Landfill Reduction (typically 75% of your waste material)
  • Gained Revenue through selling the recyclables
  • Gained Available Floor Space
  • Monthly Recycled Goods Report
  • Recycling Trailer Parked At Your Site
  • Quick Trailer Swaps

If your local waste removal system does not accept all recyclables, looking for a local business that does can save a lot of waste by preventing usable materials from ending up in your landfill.

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