Recycling is a Managed Resource System
not a diverted waste stream (trash)
Recycling becomes very confusing when different groups accept different items and in different ways. Why doesn’t everyone recycle in the same ways?
Think of the items we recycle as commodities. Grain and livestock are traded commodities and the prices are derived from the demand or number of end users. Just like the prices of corn, hogs, gasoline, etc. the same is true of recycling commodities. Some one must buy the products made from recycled metal cans, laundry detergent bottles, etc. to create a demand making the value of these raw materials (recyclables) greater.
Beside the value of the final product, there are other reasons to recycle. Recycling is not trash unless you send it to landfill. We are required by law to reduce the amount of materials sent to landfills. Recycling is a positive way to comply. This reduces the amount of trash going to landfills, saves exhausting nonrenewable resources (i.e., petroleum) and makes for a friendlier environment (less greenhouse gases less pollution).
It may seem to you that what you do or don’t do will make little difference. Actually it is the little things we do as habit that are cumulative. Over time they add up to something much greater. Because they are small things, they require little more energy than washing the dishes or brushing your teeth.
Here’s an example of how your willingness to expend just a little extra effort routinely will make a difference. In 2008 the materials that were put into the bins at Perkins & Waters Streets totaled 307.5 tons. By taking the extra effort to separate all paper (newspaper, flattened cardboard, office paper, junk mail, paperboard, etc) and put clean paper into the capped big white container, you saved about the Solid Waste District (Rush County government ) over $5,000. If recyclers were willing to sort more of their recycling, we could save even more money.
Newspaper and office paper is a valued commodity because it is easily turned back into other paper products whereas glass, for instance, takes more processing and the number of products that have been developed from recycled glass are not as many.
The same is true of plastics. Look on the bottom of the item and find the triange with the number in the center. Number 1 and number 2 plastics are in greater demand than other plastics. There are fewer buyers of plastics wanting the other numbers and some recycling programs only want the #1 and #2 plastic.
Now you may be asking, “if these recyclables are valuable enough to haul away for free, why do we have to pay?” Very good question. Some items are more valuable because of the demand while some are not as much. How can we get money for Rush County recyclables and not cost county government to have them hauled away? By doing a little something extra: sorting what you have into the proper bin. “Ah,” you say, “I don’t have time for that,” or some of you say, “well, I just don’t have room for that.” See, it is your decision to do the little things that will make the difference.
Recycling is a managed resource system. We each do a little something extra to manage it and defer a greater cost of services in our tax rates. What you are personally willing to do?
For more detail the types of things that we can easily recycle because there is a market for it check out the How to Sort Recycling page. Check it occasionally as it will change as the market changes. Call the District office is you have questions or suggestions at 765-938-1342.