Wash, SORT, Repeat.

Unsorted recycle bin (paper mixed with containers) - Oops! This is NOT GOOD.
Unsorted recycle bin (paper mixed with containers) - Oops! This is NOT GOOD.
Salem residents are really getting into the swing of recycling every week, and trust us, we love to see your bins out and full of wonderful paper and containers. Speaking of other things we love to see - thanks for your phenomenal turnout at the Book Swap on March 15th – over 700 people!

But folks, we’ve got to get a little nitty gritty and talk about SORTING!

In this blog post, I plan to show some pictures of what is good recycling and what is bad recycling. Some of these pictures and ideas are available on the page What Goes Where as well.

There’s some work to be done in this city yet. We love that you are all recycling – but it’s not enough just to toss the stuff out on the curb, even if all the material in the bin can be recycled.

We’re not pointing fingers, but from walks around the city, well – there're some problems out there. Let’s direct your attention to some pictures our eagle-eyed scouts have taken of some mixed up bins.  Check out the photos accompanying this article - and read the captions.

Never bag your recycling in PLASTIC bags. Seriously. Never.

Those bags snag in machinery at the recycling plant, then everything comes to a halt!

You can’t recycle plastic bags at the curb – you can only do it at grocery stores (and a big congrats to one of our newest plastic bag recyclers – Steve’s Quality Market).

The hardest thing about sorting – knowing what goes in the bin in the first place. If you have any questions about what can be recycled at the curb, or need a quick refresher – look at this list on the Salem.com website.

You can also check out the SalemRecycles Facebook page where we will answer any questions.

Notice your neighbor needs some help figuring these things out? Could you be an honorary SalemRecycles member and help us kindly spread the word about sorting? Gently remind friends and family that Sorting Matters! 

Curious about why we sort our containers (plastics, metals, glass) from paper? Stay tuned for our next post!

Beth Melillo is a member of the SalemRecycles Committee. Beth is an MS candidate at Salem State University in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program. She is interested in sustainable business and development. You can often find her running at Forest River Park or checking out books about upcycling from the Salem Public Library.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

KlassySalem March 24, 2014 at 12:13 PM
You know what would be even easier than sorting? Single stream!!!!
Jen Meger March 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM
Single stream would really be ideal. Any plans for the city to issue residents bigger recycling bins (possibly with some kind of separation for the paper to make it easier to sort)? I can't fit everything into my tiny recycling bin every week.
Derrick Julien March 24, 2014 at 01:33 PM
right now cassella is only place that offers it. that's why salem needs a new contractor.
SalemRecycles March 24, 2014 at 05:34 PM
Stay tuned for a future blog post which will focus on the single- versus dual-stream debate. A quick summary is that in single stream, a lot of paper gets contaminated and ends up being thrown away instead of recycled. Currently, dual-stream is a more efficient process, both environmentally & financially. Regarding larger bins, you can use any sturdy container (e.g. barrel) marked recycling. The city even offers free decals for this purpose (pick up at City Hall, or 120 Washington St.'s 4th fl. engineering office).
Derrick Julien March 24, 2014 at 06:08 PM
paper gets washed anyway. there are facilities that can wash rinse ink and press paper products within 24 hours and rinse labels off of cans. salem they just sit on the ground and rot. still no excuse for replacing the contractor. apartment communites and most trash contractors do not recycle it gets incinerated simon malls does not recyle nierther does all these big complexes. most people dontate paper anyway.


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