Denton residents need to get better at only putting approved recyclables in their blue bins every week.
But there’s been confusion on how to accomplish the goal to get down Denton’s contamination rate, meaning the number of items put into blue bins that can’t be processed by Pratt Industries, the city’s recycling partner.
A postcard that landed in Denton mailboxes last week fueled confusion — what can we recycle? While the postcard had an error saying glass had to have certain numbers to be recyclable, it has spurred more questions about what winds up in the blue bins. Yes, residents can recycle any glass that’s from food and beverage containers.
Additionally, starting sometime next month, residents who blatantly break the rules by putting nonrecyclable goods in the blue bins will get tagged, and their recyclables will not get picked up the following week. Initially, officials hoped to start the practice March 1, but pushed it back to help educate the community, Vanessa Ellison, education coordinator for the City of Denton Sustainability, said.
This doesn’t mean crews will be going through your bins on the sidewalk though. Instead, if a crew looks in and sees plastic trash bags or pieces of furniture, residents will get tagged.
“I think the majority of our residents are putting the right things in their carts, but when a few people mess up, it ruins it for everyone,” she said. “Quite honestly, a lot of things have not changed. We’re just not going to pick it up if it’s not recyclable.”
An abbreviated Q&A with Ellison is below to tackle some of the most frequently asked questions in recent weeks.
Can I recycle Styrofoam?
We can’t accept it in our program because we don’t have the machinery to process it.
What glass can I recycle?
The confusion was our bad — just put the glass in there! If it’s a food or beverage container, it can go in there. The industrial-grade glass is what we can’t process, like industrial window panels and light bulbs.
Can I recycle my egg container?
There are three different types.
The hard plastic is recyclable, the cardboard texture one is recyclable. Then the sea foam green and white ones aren’t recyclable, even though it has the number six on there.
No. And you can’t bag your recyclables — the plastic messes with the machinery.
Are my rates going to change?
We’re not going to raise rates.
What do I do about paper?
You can recycle all paper — newspaper, your junk mail, it all counts. For some reason a rumor started that you needed to shred newspaper, but you don’t have to.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @jennafduncan.