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Sustain Fond du Lac sorts out what is recyclable in brochure

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Members of the recycling committee of Sustain Fond du Lac include, from left, are Peg Bradley, Sister Ruth Battaglia, Louise Borzcik, and Carol Smith. (Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Koehler)

FOND DU LAC – A local group is working to make it simpler for Fond du Lac residents to know the rules about recycling in the city.

Annually on Nov. 15, organizations and communities from coast to coast celebrate America Recycles Day. At the heart of the day is a commitment to take care of the planet’s resources for generations to come through recycling. 

When Sustain Fond du Lac was initially formed in the summer of 2019, a subcommittee was created to encourage correct recycling practices in Fond du Lac. Committee members often asked the same question that many others in the community were asking: “Is this recyclable?” The group decided a public outreach campaign was needed, focused on recycling right. 

The committee reached out to the city’s public works director, Jordan Skiff, and Waste Management, the contracted company that provides garbage collection, disposal and recycling services.

The committee toured Waste Management’s Germantown materials recovery facility, where recycled materials from a large area of eastern Wisconsin are processed, said Sustain Fond du Lac committee member Rachel Kohler. 

With a clearer understanding of how to recycle, the committee then researched which local businesses would accept materials that could not be put in Waste Management’s recycle bins. 

The result is a recycling brochure available on Sustain Fond du Lac’s website (sustainfdl.org) as well as the city of Fond du Lac’s website. 

CLICK HERE FOR RECYCLING BROCHURE 

For example, materials like plastic bags and strings of lights that get tangled in recycling equipment should not be put in the recycling bin. Glass and plastic containers that are empty and rinsed clean before placing in the bin improve the value of sorted recyclables.

In many cases, non-recyclables can be dangerous for the sorters at Waste Management — items like broken glass, sharp metals, flammable materials and even needles. If an item is not recyclable, tossing it in a recycling bin can contaminate the other recyclables. The entire contaminated bin of recyclables will then end up in a landfill all because of this minor mistake.

Carol Smith, one of the committee members who toured the Germantown facility, said sometimes single-stream recycling is too convenient, and residents might think “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to their recyclable refuse. 

“Our recycling tax dollars are best used when citizens stay aware and follow recycling rules and opportunities,” Smith said. “We provide education to assist in understanding compliance.”

According to the brochure, used plastic bags, for example, can be recycled at Festival Foods, Kohls, Pick ‘n Save, Piggly Wiggly, Target and Walmart.

City residents will be sent a copy of the 2020 Recycling Brochure along with their water bill. The brochure will be updated yearly to reflect any changes in what can be recycled and businesses that accept materials that cannot be put in the recycling bin.

Contact Sharon Roznik at 920-907-7936 or sroznik@gannett.com. Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/reporterroz/

RELATED: Fond du Lac School District closing schools due to COVID-19

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