Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's about time Philadelphia!

I am delighted to announce that Philth-adelphia is finally catching up with the surrounding 'burbs and all plastics are now accepted for curbside recycling pickup.  The following is an email from Benjamin Ditzler from RecycleNow with some details about what can and cannot be recycled.  Why have you not heard about this my fellow Philadelphians?  Well there was a tiny blurb in the Inquirer today, and the online edition of the Daily News posted this interview with Scott McGrath of the Streets Department, who said that the Mayor was planning a press conference on August 31st but they were trying to iron out the details with Waste Management  before there was an official press conference. 

So if you read my insufferably long post on Earth Day 2010, you know that I have been trying for 5 years to ease my fellow co-workers into recycling.  It has not been easy.  So each Friday I take the plastic recycling home, which means in the kitchen at work there are bins for #1 & #2 plastics, and another one for #5s, which I take to Whole Foods.  I got so sick of my lazy-ass coworkers just throwing their cups and bottles in either bin (dirty with straws still attached) that I slammed both bins onto the conference table in the middle of the last company meeting and announced we were playing a new game. I then handed around all manner of plastic bottle and cups with the recycling symbol on the bottom circled in magic marker and asked each person to see if they could manage to put them in the right bin, the one labeled #1/#2 or the one labeled #5.  You can see why I am not so popular there.  They were not amused.

So today Boss #1 came in my office to gleefully announce that the display at the last meeting was unnecessary because of the new recycling policies detailed here (he is also a Philly resident), but I had beaten him to it, and ordered some very large recyling bins from Uline so I could prepare 3434 for the onslaught of plastics from work.

Anyway, I am ready for some celebrate with me and please read below!  Oh, and don't forget you can earn coupons for recycling by signing up for the city's Recycling Rewards program.  You can thank Mayer Nutter for the drastic advances in the city's recycling efforts over the previous administration.

From: Benjamin Ditzler
Sent: Sat, July 31, 2010 4:00:00 PM
Subject: [UCityRecycle] (almost) All plastics (#1-#7) now accepted in Philly!

So this is pretty big deal for hard core recyclers and yogurt eaters alike, as of August 1, Waste Management (the Exxon Mobile of trash companies) will be taking over the recycling processing for the city from Blue Mountain. The two upshots of this are that the city will be saving more money per ton of recyclables (WM will be paying the city something like $50/ton?) and essentially all plastics #1-#7 will be accepted in your normal curbside bin and processed. woohoo.

This is awesome news because it means that dedicated recyclers can now divert around 95% of their waste from landfills and incinerators with this expanded collection.

RecycleNOW has been working with Waste Management to create something of a master list of all the acceptable and unacceptable recycling materials. (we also know from experience that folks have tons of questions about materials we've never given much thought to before).

We believe they will take everything that Blue Mountain took with some clarifications below. Waste Management is stressing that nearly all of the accepted materials are packaging. See below for the word on accepted plastics and other materials. The NO list is almost the better list to look at. If it isn't in NO, it's probably accepted.


Previously accepted:
paper and cardboard
phone books &soft cover books
metal cans
plastics #1 and #2 with necks
milk/oj/juice/ ice cream cartons
aseptic foil cartons (broth, soup)
Now accepted:
#1s and #2s with no neck
#3 vinyl blister packs (though end markets for these materials are still developing and might be thrown out in the meantime)
#4 lids, bottles and small toys, etc.
#5 yogurt style tubs, medicine bottles, caps and lids, etc.
#6 pretty much any polystyrene that isn't styrofoam
#7 bottles and jugs
bottle caps
*small* plastic toys
5 gallon buckets/kitty litter buckets
aluminum foil/pie tins/baking tins
hard cover books


styrofoam (every kind: packing peanuts, rigid packaging, meat trays, cups, plates, clamshells, egg cartons)
plastic bags and films (grocery bags, bread bags, cereal box liners, drycleaner covers)
big pvc pipes
compostable plastics
window panes, mirrors, pyrex
pots & pans
paper take out drink cups w/ plastic (wax) liner (coffee cups)
coffee cup lids
plastic cutlery
plastic 6 pack rings
waxed paper and cardboard
toothbrushes, deodorant sticks & other toiletries
coat hangers

And finally, for info regarding the current push to ban plastic bags from retail establishments in Philadelphia (similar to the law enacted in San Francisco) check out this link, note the petition is now closed but the proposed law has been in the news lately as well.  And for info about the proposed composting program, click here.


Neil said...

I noticed Waste Management sponsors some bicycle races. Not exactly related to your post but I suppose they get bonus points for this too

Unknown said...

How is the recycling in your city? And yes WM gets major kudos for sponsoring bike races in my book.

Neil said...

I believe many cites in Michigan do, but, I'm embarrassed to say, my city doesn't have any type of organized recycling. Probably because my city does not offer trash pick up (or snow removal or city water). I don't think we even have a mayor. Since you live in Philadelphia you may have difficulty imagining the nothingness that can sit under a dot on a map of Northern Mid-West.