Matt Batliner knows what to expect every deer and duck season — carcasses at his recycling center.
“I have no idea why somebody would think this is recyclable,” said Batliner, whose family owns one of three centers that take in what Kansas City area residents put in their curbside bins.
“I’m looking at my non-acceptable items list: plastic shopping bags, food scraps, yard waste. ‘Dead animals’ is right on there.”
Seems area consumers could use a refresher course on what goes in the recycle bin.
Carcasses may be an obvious “no,” but residents may need updating on bottle caps, pizza boxes and peanut butter jars, too. Aluminum foil, wrapping paper and prescription bottles also need an explanation.
One reason consumers are confused: The recycling industry hasn’t resolved all “recyclable-or-not” questions. Some common packaging that one recycling center takes is on the don’t-recycle list of another.
And updates from cities, haulers and recycling centers come few and far between, or they just get it wrong.
“They’re putting outdated information out there, or they don’t put any information out there at all,” said Matt Riggs of the Mid-America Regional Council.
Help for conscientious-but-confused consumers is at hand.
Riggs just set down the Kansas City area’s standards for recycling the most confusing materials of all — plastics. His findings are posted on the council’s RecycleSpot.org website that also lists recycling locations for many materials that won’t go in curbside bins.
Keep an eye out too for the slowly emerging How2Recycle label. It spells out exactly what to do with that item in your hand, and it gained backing from Wal-Mart in October.
Consumers need help because “recyclable” in Kansas City and much of America depends on more than the material something was made from.
Some perfectly recyclable items end up being thrown away because recycling centers simply are not set up to handle them, or they don’t want to handle them because they had food, oil or poison in them.
One message bouncing around the recycling industry urges consumers to look past what their local recycling systems say they want. Give them what could be safely recycled so perhaps they’ll change their systems and start recycling it.