Many questions about recycling

Recycling may not be the most exciting thing to think about, but it is something that we all do at home and out in the streets. After years of throwing away used pizza boxes in the paper bin, we now know not to, that the greasy cardboard contaminates the stream. 

There are many questions about how and what to recycle, and luckily there are plenty of resources that give the answers. Since our local recycler is Welsh Sanitation, we will follow the guidelines they provide. Here is the link to the page that details exactly what we can and cannot put in the orange topped cans: www.royalcarting.us/welsh-recycling. 

Things have changed recently in recycling. Several countries that used to buy our bulk bundles of paper, plastic, glass and metal are now pulling back, or stopping altogether. A big reason is that we are not recycling as well as we could. Contamination is a major problem and when we throw a greasy pizza box in the bin, it makes all other paper unclean too. The other reason we have a hard time selling our trash, is that other countries are now making plenty of their own and don’t need ours, a cost prohibitive option when one includes the money spent in collecting and shipping the bundles across the sea.

There are ways to do our part in making the recycling stream flow better. Place all clean and mixed recyclables directly in the Welsh bin. Do not put recyclables in plastic bags. Many cities will not pick up recycling if it is bagged  (NYC is an exception as the trash is picked up by hand) because the thin plastic trash  bags cannot be recycled and clog the expensive machinery. Years ago, my family started forgoing all single use trash bags.  Our system has been saving us money, and is very easy and clean. 

We use paper bags from the grocery store (the ones with handles are great), which may cost 10 cents if the store is in Connecticut. These paper bags stand upright and hold trash and recycling until they are carried to the Welsh bins outside. Everything brought home from the supermarket, minus what we eat or compost, goes right back out in equal measure to the two bins. After emptying the contents into the curbside bins, the paper bag, if dry and clean goes into the recycling can, too. When the trash goes out, so does the smell and the  temptation for small critters to dine-in!

Our household is currently entering phase two by using  two small inside trash containers (lightweight, rigid plastic) and a third for compost, as we move toward reusable shopping bags and away from the paper ones. This is easy, too, only requiring a quick, daily rinsing of the containers. Since we don’t live in a place where we take our own bags to a transfer station, the need for plastic trash bags is gone! As for those old, soon to be banned single use plastic bags, until a new supermarket comes to town, we can still bring them to Labonne’s in Salisbury, Conn., or Freshtown in Amenia for disposal.

So, the next time you wonder what can be recycled and what becomes landfill, look at our local waste collector’s website www.royalcarting.us/welsh-recycling or call them with specific questions. E-waste and hazardous waste must not be thrown in residential trash and must go to a designated center for disposal. For more information about throwing out e-waste, please go to www.dcrra.org.  

The town of North East and village of Millerton are coordinating to have a local drop off  time and place when the Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency is open for drop-off of electronic and hazardous items. Stay tuned for more information. 


Millerton resident Eliot Ramos serves on the Conservation Advisory Council for the town of North East and the village of Millerton.