Untangle ATX this America Recycles Day

Nov 13, 2019 - 4:04 pm

By: Bailey Grimmett

America Recycles Day is a day to pat ourselves on the back for how far we’ve come in recycling efforts, both nationally and locally. But did you know 20 percent of Austin’s recycling is contaminated? Contamination occurs when we put non-recyclable materials or garbage into our recycling carts, which can cause major issues later on at the recycling facility. One of the largest contaminants? “Tanglers.”

Tanglers are items such as plastic bags, trash bags, garden hoses, clothing, rope and other flexible items that can cause problems during the recycling process.

Imagine a large recycling sorting facility (where the items from your blue recycling cart end up). This facility has several large machines that are made up of a series of gears and cogs moving at high speeds, sorting through the materials. When plastic bags, garden hoses, ropes and other tanglers end up in this sorting process, they get wrapped around the gears and cogs of the machine. This leads to delays and even standstills in operations, as employees must now shut down the machinery in order to remove the items. It’s a tangled mess.

You can make a difference. This America Recycles Day, Austin Resource Recovery asks Austinites to Untangle ATX by keeping tanglers out of their blue recycling carts. If you see an item that is made of flexible, stretchy or long material, take a second to ask, “Could this material/item get wrapped around the gears of a machine?” If the answer is yes, don’t put it in your blue recycling cart.

Remember, while these items are not accepted in your blue recycling cart, they might be recyclable in other ways. To find alternative ways to dispose of these items, check out our ‘What Do I Do With’ tool. You can also reach out to us on Facebook or by calling 3-1-1.

rope and other tanglers wrapped around gears at recycling sorting facility


Keep these tanglers out of the blue recycling cart:

Plastic bags, trash bags, plastic film & wrap

Plastic bags and film: keep out of blue cart

What do I do with it?

Some local retailers and stores accept these items for recycling— check our What Do I Do With tool to find a location near you.

Garden hoses

garden hose : keep out of blue recycling cart

What do I do with it?

Visit the Austin Reuse Directory to find a local organization that will accept these items for reuse or recycling, or place in your trash cart.

 

Strings of lights & electrical cords

string of lights and extension cord: keep out of clue recycling cart

What do I do with it?

Drop these items off at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center to be recycled or disposed of safely.

 

Clothing & Textiles

clothing and textiles: keep out of blue recycling cart

What do I do with it?

Visit the Austin Reuse Directory to find a local organization that will accept these items for reuse or drop these items off at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center to be recycled.

 

Rope

rope: keep out of blue recycling cart

What do I do with it?

Visit the Austin Reuse Directory to find a local organization that will accept these items for reuse.

 

Share