What, how to recycle during the holidays in Fairbanks

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska – The holidays are known for enjoying delicious meals, opening fun gifts and overflowing trash cans. Julie Swisher took a tour of the Borough’s Central Recycling Facility to see what goods could be recycled during holidays, and throughout the year.

“Tis the season to go green,” Recycling Manager Sean Huntington.

The holidays can bring laughter and joy with new toys and gifts around the tree. But all that packaging, cardboard and paper can not only accumulate within homes, but in the landfill as well. Sean Huntington is the recycling manager at the central recycling facility.

“When Christmas day comes, what do you do with all your cardboard boxes that your gifts came in? Well, I can tell you that here at the central recycling facility we would love to have your clean cardboard,” he said.

Cardboard, when recycled, gets bailed and sent to the Mat-su Valley where it can become new materials such as insulation or pet bedding. Some traveling further south to Washington, where it gets made into new cardboard.

“So once the resident drops of the materials in the blue totes outside in the shed it comes here, here is where we would sort it, clean it, quality check it before it gets bailed,” he said.

Once it is a complete bail, it gets weighed, ticketed and stored until there is enough for a full trailer. When it comes to recycling plastic, the facility only takes in number one and number two.

“Somewhere on this bottle there will be a triangle with a one in it, and it will either say PET or PETE. It’s all polyurethane, but an easy way to tell is it has a dimple on the bottom. Ninety-nine percent of all number 1 petes have a dimple,” he said.

Huntington says when recycling, remember to make sure your goods are clean to lower the risks of contamination. That can be done by rinsing aluminum cans and plastic containers and keeping cardboard dry.

“I wish recycling materials were thought of as a commodity, versus waste or trash. I can tell you that when families start recycling in their homes, instead of taking it out every day or every two days, it will be there for five or six, it is amazing how much less garbage you’ll have when you start recycling,” he said.

Huntington says, if you want to know more about recycling, the facility is open Tuesday through Saturday, and he encourages everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle.

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