TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Items you've been actively recycling may actually belong in the trash.
On Saturday, Master Gardener Association of Tippecanoe County hosted a recycling seminar where dozens of Tippecanoe County residents got a lesson on our local recycling process. Turns out, many people are not recycling properly.
Tippecanoe Solid Waste District Recycling Educator Amy Krzton-Presson partnered with Purdue University students to conduct an audit on the recycling bins at the four county-recycling locations: 2770 N. 9th St. , East Tipp Middle School, recycle trailer in the town of Stockwell, and Southwestern Middle School.
They found plastic grocery bags being the biggest problem in the bins. These plastic bags can not be recycled because they get tangled in the sorting machines, which directly affects the recycling process for the good materials.
“Plastic bags should go to the grocery store instead of in your recycling bin,” said Krzton-Presson. “If people can get their recyclables loose and clean then that's a big accomplishment.”
Many people were surprised to learn their recycling habits could have a negative impact on the process.
“I've been recycling for as long as I can remember and I have found out today that a good part of what I'm recycling, I should be throwing out,” said Margy Deverall.
Deverall is a Project Manager with the city of Lafayette Economic Development Department. She's working with Mayor Tony Roswarski to create better recycling practices for the city. She said this seminar has been a big eye-opener, which will help with future planning.
“Now we need to structure how we go forward,” said Deverall. “Do we want a steering committee, is there a leadership team that goes out and does research, we want lots of community involvement.”
Krzton-Presson said it’s great to see how many people want to make a difference
“I’m pretty used to people being shocked and disappointed about finding out how the recycling process works, and what actually gets recycled and what they’ve been doing wrong but I actually think it’s important to feel disappointed in the process and then figure out how you can improve yourself,” said Krzton-Presson, “This is a community issue, this is a community topic and for us to come together and learn together, it really emphasizes how we're really in this together and one person’s contamination impacts everyone else’s recyclables.”
Krzton-Presson said good recyclable materials include bottles and jugs, soda cans, and soup cans, corrugated cardboard or paperboard, milk cartons, egg cartons made out of cardboard, paper towel rolls, mixed paper, glass bottles, and glass jars.