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City takes action at recycling center

Princeton attempts to clean up unwanted items

PRINCETON — New signs will go up at the Princeton Recycling Center to clarify what things are ... and are not, accepted for recycling.

In addition to the new signs, the Princeton City Council has also approved having city employees at the recycling center on Fridays and Saturdays in September to help people make sure they are in compliance with the regulations.

The new signs and education program are the result of action taken by the Princeton City Council following several months of discussion on the issue of illegal dumping at the recycling center and nearby yard waste pile.

Princeton City Manager Jeff Clawson said there are not really any major changes in what is accepted at the recycling center. The problem, which the city has been having with unwanted items at the recycling center, seems to be some misunderstanding on certain products.

For one thing, plastic bags are left all the time at the recycling center, but no plastic bag of any kind is recyclable, Clawson said. Also, people drop off pizza boxes, but they are not recyclable because of the grease. Styrofoam is also not recyclable either.

According to information presented to the Princeton City Council, there are numbers, 1 through 7, on the bottom of plastic containers. The city can except all containers but those with the No. 6 on them.

Those items with the No. 6 on them include disposable plates and plastic silverware, meat trays, carry-out containers, packing peanuts, plastic wrap and egg cartons. Neither the Styrofoam or cardboard-type egg cartons are accepted, Clawson said.

Among other items not accepted at the recycling center are electronic waste, hazardous waste, used oil or oil containers, medical waste, window panes and general trash.

Non-Princeton residents are allowed to bring their recyclables to the recycling center, as long as they follow the stated guidelines, Clawson said.

The city of Princeton has offered a recycling center for about 25 years. According to the city’s website, about 4.6 tons of recyclables are collected daily at the city’s recycling center, located on North Euclid Avenue. The city contracts with Homewood Disposal in Hazel Crest to handle its recyclables.

Recycling Tips

• No plastic bags of any type.

• Leave caps on bottles/jars. Loose caps are too small for the city's equipment. Leave caps securely on bottles/jars.

• Rinsing out containers is not necessary.

• Pizza boxes are not recyclable. The grease contaminates the recycling process; the same goes for paper plats.

• Shredded paper is a problem for the city's equipment. Because of the size, it falls through the machinery and ends up as garbage.

Source: City of Princeton.

Acceptable Items

• Milk, juice, broth, soup and other food and drink cartons.

• Aluminum and other metal cans.

• Glass bottles and jars. Leave lids on.

• Newspapers and phone books.

• Paperboard boxes and corrugated cardboard. No pizza boxes.

• File folders, office paper, magazines, catalogs, regular and junk mail.

• Plastic bottles and jugs, excluding those marked with No. 6.

Source: City of Princeton.

Items not accepted

• Styrofoam.

• Electronic waste, such as batteries, cell phones and computers.

• Hazardous waste, such as paint, pesticides, cleaners.

• Used oil or oil containers.

• Window panes, mirrors, ceramics.

• Medical waste, such as syringes and needles.

* Yard waste/food waste.

• No. 6 plastics.

• Trash.

Source: City of Princeton.

Staff assistance at Princeton Recycling Center

• Friday, Sept. 12, from 8 a.m. to noon.

• Friday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Saturday, Sept. 20, from noon to 4 p.m.

• Friday, Sept. 26, from noon to 4 p.m.

• Saturday, Sept. 27, from 8 a.m. to noon.

• Saturday, Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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