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Recycling - FAQs

Do I have to wash my recyclables?

All recyclables must be relatively clean, empty and dry. This does not mean to put them through a dishwasher. This is especially important during our current drought period. An example of relatively clean, empty and dry would be: a mayonnaise jar that has been wiped clean of residue with a spatula or emptying a soda bottle completely in the sink. Both of those are clean and dry enough.

Why can’t I recycle plastic bags?

Ready markets for plastic bags do exist. However, all plastic bags (a.k.a. film plastic) are not made of the same plastic and are virtually impossible to sort using the current processing technology. Plastic bags wrap themselves around the conveyor belt rollers and damage processing equipment. Due to these processing problems and the dirty/contaminated condition of plastic bags in a commingled program, they are not recyclable in Glendale’s program. Everyone is encouraged to reuse plastic bags as much as possible. Reuse them to bag and tie your garbage and grass. Reuse them at the grocery store. In addition, many grocery stores have installed plastic bag recycling programs. Utilize these programs and DO NOT place plastic bags in your recycling container.

Why can’t I recycle all my plastic bottles/containers?

There are many polymers of plastic. The plastic industry uses a numbering system that you can find on the bottom of most plastic bottles and containers. Glendale recycles and accepts those with the symbol 1 (PETE)  thru 7 (OTHER).   And even in this group #6 plastic contains Styrofoam- cups, egg cartons, packing materials and containers that are not recycled in Glendale’s Recycling Program.

All the others do not have ready markets and are not economical to sort and recycle.

(Click on image below to view a larger version)

Plastic Recycling

What does Reduce/Reuse/Recycle mean?

Recycling has been the buzz word in solid waste management for several years. Reduction and reuse of solid waste have become neglected, yet they are even more important in dealing with solid waste issues throughout the world. Many people think that it is OK to create more garbage as it will be recycled instead of choosing to reduce or reuse the solid waste generated at home and work.

Reduction of solid waste deals with buying and using less material and packaging. Buying concentrate or even buying in bulk reduces the potential amount of waste in your garbage or recycling. For example, buying juice in concentrate form (usually in a small container) and then adding water later reduces the need to buy large plastic containers of the same liquid. Just as important is reusing as much material and packaging as possible. Ceramic instead of paper cups, taking and reusing plastic bags at the grocery store or making bird feeders from soda bottles are all examples of reuse.

Where do the recyclables go?

Once materials are sorted, they are sent to recyclers throughout the United States and the world, depending on the availability of markets and value of the materials.

Materials are sent to local recyclers. However, some materials go to exporters in California and then to other parts of the world.


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