Recycling changes drawing interest at Hillsboro center

This label is adhered to the new large bins used to accommodate ?mixed recyling? at the Hillsboro center. The new method does away with sorting materials as well as increasing the kinds of materials accepted.Hillsboro city leaders, as well as the volunteers who manage the local recycling center, say it?s too soon to know how recent changes in the program are affecting participation.

Last December, the Hillsboro City Council agreed to change the hours at the recycling center to 24/7 accessibility after many years of having it open only on Saturday mornings and a couple of hours on Thursday evening.

Then, about three weeks ago, the center moved to ?mixed recycling.? Formerly, patrons were asked to sort each of their recyclable materials, then place them in separate storage ?igloos.?

Now, patrons can dump all of their recyclables in one large bin without separating them.

The change was promp?ted by the McPherson Area Solid Waste Authority, which has been a partner with the city since the recycling center was opened.

?There?s just been a few people that I?ve talked to that like the idea about being able to dump whatever,? said Larry Paine, city administrator.

?The thing I?m hearing more consistently is the ability to bring recycling to the center over there whenever it?s convenient for folks to get there, rather than be forced into 9 to noon on Saturday and 5 to 7 on a Thursday night.

?I know for me it?s a lot easier. I can plan when I want to do stuff.?

Andrew Sensnig, a member of the Mission Committee at First Mennonite Church, which oversees the recyling center as a community service project, said, ?I like the new system, and hope it increases recycling rates due to both more hours, more kinds of materials accepted, and less sorting needed.?

Paine said of the changes, ?I think it?s a next logical step toward increasing the overall recyling effort that we?ll be doing. We?ve got to look at that as part of the next step in municipal solid waste collection as well.?

Materials accepted

In addition to greatly reducing the time and effort needed to prepare recyclables, the new system has broadened the list of materials that can be recycled.

Under the new system, the following items can be recycled:

? glass bottles of all colors, also jars;

? aluminum, steel and tin cans;

? newspapers, magazine, office paper, junk mail;

? corrugated cardboard and paperboard/chipboard (used for cereal boxes and like containers);

? paper bags

? plastics coded from 1 through 7, including bottles (water, soda or detergent), milk jugs, tubs and jars.

Materials NOT accepted

The following things are not to be placed in recycling containers: plastic bags, Styrofoam, Pyrex, wac-coated items, ceramics, food scarps, yard waste/leaves, garden hoses, textiles or used clothing, light bulbs, electronics, milk cartons, automotive product bottles, construction paper, drink boxes/pouches, gift wrap, hanging folders, PVC, paper plates or cups, paper towels, scrap metal, tissue paper, window glass, mirrors and trash.

Preparation tips

In terms or preparing recyclable items, the MASWU offers the following suggestions:

? There?s no need to sort.

? Mixed paper can be placed in bins losely, tied in bundles, or in brown paper sacks.

? Labels are OK.

? Remove caps and rings from plastic bottles.

? Place lid inside tin cans and pinch closed.

? Remove wax paper liners or packing material from cardboard/chipboard prior to recycling.

? Flatten or cut cardboard.

?Having the opportunity to have a wider variety of things that can go into the recycling stream in a way that is not so cumbersome that you have to have 15 boxes at home in order to sort everything is a good thing,? Paine said.

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