Many Shakopee, Minn., residents are confused about what can and cannot be recycled because recycling practices vary by city and hauler. But in an effort to end their confusion, a group of recyclers, waste haulers and city, county and state officials are working to develop clearer and more consistent guidelines for the public about what can and cannot be recycled.
The group aims to have its finalized list of priority recyclable and non-recyclable items completed by July. Its ultimate goal is to have cities, counties and haulers incorporate this list into their education efforts to help boost and improve recycling rates.
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Recyclable materials zip along a conveyor belt in Shakopee as workers scramble to grab what doesn’t belong: Plastic bags, shredded paper, clothes hangers, a giant poster of Garfield.
It’s all evidence of “wish-cycling,” the well-intended pitching of trash into the big blue single-sort recycling bins in hopes that it can, somehow, be recycled. But those unwanted items are a headache for recyclers, who are left with gummed-up sorting machines, less valuable recyclables and a pile of trash.
A group of recyclers, waste haulers, and city, county and state officials has been meeting for the past year to develop clearer and more consistent guidelines for the public about what’s acceptable to toss in curbside recycling bins — and what’s not.