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How to make sure your holiday recycling doesn't end up in the landfill

How to make sure your holiday recycling doesn't end up in the landfill
Posted at 1:32 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 15:32:12-05

HELENA — After the holiday weekend, there is going to be a lot of cardboard, plastic, and probably more than a few beer bottles lying around the house. But if you plan on recycling any of it there are a few things you need to know first before dropping it off.

First of all, not every box or bag is created equal and only some material can be recycled at places like the Transfer Station in Helena.

“Plastics number one and two, and if you’re not sure there’s a plastics triangle on the bottom, recycling symbol, and it will say a number, so we only take one and two," City of Helena recycling coordinator Kim Carley told MTN. "No black plastic. The reason for that is the machine that sorts the plastics, it’s a light beam that shoots through and separates it, it can’t go through the black plastic.”

You’ll have to pay attention to cardboard too. Only the kind with wavy layers called corrugated cardboard can recycled in Helena. That means no paperboard like cereal or beer boxes. And you also need to make sure everything you drop off is clean.

“Peanut butter jars, make sure everything is rinsed and clean because that dirty stuff, that contaminants it," said Carley. "Corrugated cardboard, pizza boxes full of grease, contaminated, not clean corrugated cardboard.”

WEB EXTRA: Christmas Recycling

And for glass, double check that any corks, plastic or wax is removed too.

“It’s contamination, if we get too much of that it contaminates the entire load and we’ll just have to landfill it versus recycling it,” Carley added.

The Transfer Station is also the place where you can drop off and recycle your Christmas tree to turn into perch habitat after the holidays.

So to make sure your recycling gets recycled, pay attention to the signs and do a little prep work before making the trip.