Are you a Sorta?

May 10

Keeping Food Out of Recycling Bins

Posted on May 10, 2019 at 11:41 AM by Regina Sousa

Food scraps are valuable, but not in your household recycling bin. Composting organic materials, such as food scraps, reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or at combustion facilities. However, food scraps put in household recycling bins can actually ruin valuable recyclables and those equally valuable food scraps are lost as well. Let’s #RecycleRightNY - don’t cover your recyclables in food! Your plastics want to become clothing, carpeting, and playground equipment and your cardboard wants to become the box for your next doorstep delivery! Food, excess food residue, and liquids in your recycling bin can decrease the value of these items and prevent them from being made into new things. Help improve the quality of your recyclables by only putting items in your household recycling bin that your local recycling program accepts. Visit the DEC's website for more information on #RecycleRightNY and home composting

Apr 04

#RecycleRightNY - Textiles

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 10:07 AM by Regina Connelly

Is your closet giving you a headache? Don’t make it a headache for recycling facilities!

As we welcome the Spring season and closet clean outs, we’d like to remind you to rethink your recycling habits. Tossing your unwanted clothing into your regular household recycling bin creates major issues for the recycling facilities that handle your usual plastic, metal, glass, and paper. When your clothing and other textiles are put in your regular household recycling bin, these items become wrapped around recycling facility equipment, causing expensive machinery jams and compromising worker safety. Not to mention- textiles cannot be recycled in these systems as they are designed to handle bottles, cans, paper, etc., not clothing. Clothing and other worn and torn textiles can be recycled but need to go to a specialized recycling facility with equipment designed for recycling textiles. As long as they are clean, dry and odorless, most textiles can be reused or recycled through specific donation and collection programs. Reused clothing is thrifted and goes to people in need. The items that are recycled are made into fiber for new products like carpet padding, home insulation, and raw material for the automotive industry.

By participating in textiles recovery and recycling you’re helping to save natural resources, reduce greenhouse gases, prevent pollution, and reduce waste from entering landfills where it has no value. It’s also a way to help keep recycling facilities running smoothly and extend the life of valuable materials!

http://ontariocountyrecycles.org/160/Textiles for more information and to find reuse and recycling locations near you.

Mar 11

What is Environmental Sustainability?

Posted on March 11, 2019 at 10:35 AM by Regina Connelly

The term sustainability as it applies to solid waste management is somewhat of a nouveau term so much so that I am frequently asked about what it really means.  A definition by Herman Daly, pioneer of environmental sustainability may shed some light:

Environmental sustainability is the rates of renewable resource
harvest, pollution creation, and non-renewable resource depletion
that can be continued indefinitely. If they cannot be continued indefinitely
then they are not sustainable.

For Ontario County, the efforts of the Department of Sustainability & Solid Waste Management are in alignment with Mr. Daly’s definition.  Working with our citizens, businesses, schools, and other organizations, we are guiding best practice solutions in solid waste management – all to “sustain” our beautiful community and abundant natural resources.

A Department priority involves oversight of county landfill operations. Here our focus is to ensure that all landfill activities meet our stringent standards, and that the landfill is in compliance with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and federal regulations.

We know the landfill will not be operational indefinitely. In fact, under the current landfill agreement established by Ontario County leaders over a decade ago, disposal at the landfill is scheduled to expire in 2028.  This fast approaching deadline emphasizes the need for all of us to do our best to practice the essential 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and for our continued exploration of creative alternatives to help reduce our waste stream – and landfill use. 

One such alternative being explored looks to prevent an estimated 10,000 tons of organic material from entering the landfill over a 12-month period.  Ontario County’s landfill operator, Casella Waste Systems, is currently seeking a permit from NYSDEC to pilot test use of a depackaging machine – which removes organic food materials from cans, wrappers, and jars. The extracted organic material will be transported and processed for energy through an anaerobic digester, and the recoverable packaging - clean cans, paper, and plastics will be recycled.  

We’ll keep you posted on the status of this initiative – and others so you can stay informed on our efforts for a sustainable Ontario County!

All the best,
Carla Jordan

Director – OC Dept. of Sustainability & Solid Waste Mgmt.