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What plastics can be recycled?

MINNEAPOLIS — A new study says we’re basically wasting our time trying to recycle plastic.

A report by Greenpeace calls plastic recycling a “failed concept,” and that only 5% of plastic is actually recycled in the U.S.

WCCO wanted to take a local look – and help you figure out what you can and can’t put in your bin.

So, what plastics can be recycled?

Kate Davenport is co-president of Eureka Recycling in Minneapolis.

“We have heard from folks before, they find it more confusing than doing their taxes. Cause if you think about it there are thousands of types of packaging out there,” Davenport said.

Davenport helps run Eureka Recycling, the processing center for Minneapolis and St. Paul. It may look like they accept everything, but they can’t.

“The first rule if something can be recycled, is there somebody who wants to buy it to turn it into a product,” she said. “There are four types of plastic we accept in our program.”

Those are:
– Water and soda bottles
– Milk Jugs
– Detergent Containers
– Tubs for things like yogurt or butter

She says they also accept clamshells from takeout.

What they don’t accept:
– Solo cups
– Styrofoam
– Plastic pouches
– Plastic bags

Especially plastic bags.

“Those kinds of things wrap around the shaft of our equipment and we actually have to spend two hours a day where we have to shut down our system to clean all the plastic bags out. It will hurt us more than it actually helps anyone,” she said.

So she says just like with your taxes, it’s best to take the time to do some work, so they can do their work better because if people put the wrong stuff in, it has to be sorted, taken out and then it has to be tossed.

“It’s just a long trip to the trash,” she said.

If you are recycling bottles, Davenport says it’s best to leave the keep caps on, and the numbers on the bottom of items do not determine if they are recyclable. As for a general recycling rule of thumb, Davenport says if a container had food in it, it is probably recyclable.

But when in doubt, she says, throw it out.

These are for local recycling rules, they can vary state to state.

Eureka has a way to search items to see if they are recyclable, online and on their app.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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