Plastics: Recycle, Re-use or Avoid

    We have an excellent recycling facility conveniently located on the south edge of Mora, behind the Arthur Town Hall.  It is open from 9am to noon on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, and all day (9am – 5pm) on Wednesdays.  It is staffed with people who can show you the simple six-category system for paper, cardboard, plastic, metals and glass.
    Recycling all these things is very straightforward but you do need to know a little code system for plastic containers.  If you look closely at the bottom of your “can” or “bottle” type containers, you will see a triangular recycling symbol with a number inside the symbol.  If that number is a “1” or a “2”, all those plastic containers are accepted at the Arthur Town Hall recycling facility (and all go into the same bin as glass and tin cans).  If that recycling number is a 3 or higher, it cannot be recycled through that local center.  The writer recently encountered a plastic bottle without a visible recycling symbol and code and was informed (by a lovely and wise person nearby) “If it has a neck it’s a good bet it’s recyclable.”  Most bottle caps are not recyclable.
    The Arthur township recycling center does not accept plastic bags, but Nelson’s and Coborn’s both have receptacles for recycling plastic bags.  When it comes to plastic bags, it is especially good to remember a hierarchy of Earth-friendly behavior:

Reduce – Don’t buy/accept things you don’t really need
Re-use – If you do end up in possession of the thing.
Recycle – When the thing’s useful life is at an end.

Ziploc bags should be washed along with tableware and re-used…many, many times.  The most troublesome of plastic bags are the lightweight things the grocers and countless other retailers automatically put your purchased items in.  The ones that don’t get buried in land fills are blown on the wind and end up clogging everything from storm sewers to the innards of unlucky birds, fish and mammals.  They have become such an ugly and serious problem that cities around the world are beginning to ban them.  The next time the checkout person says “plastic or paper?” please say, “I’ve brought my own bags”, as you pull your cloth bags out of the cart.  A sturdy fabric bag can be used, and re-used hundreds of times.  That will be so much better for the Earth and all of its inhabitants.