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Reggie, the Recycling Raccoon asks: ‘So what do we do with other plastic materials?’

Courtesy photo. Reggie the Recycling Racoon.
Courtesy photo. Reggie the Recycling Racoon.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Frank Hammer for the information in this column.)

Last week you learned a ditty:  “1 and 2 can live anew, 3 through 8 just don’t rate.” This works for bottles and containers, but for other plastic materials—not so much.

You may find yourself asking, “What do I do with my broken plastic lawn chair, which does NOT have a number on it”?  There’s lots of plastic out there, and most of it can be recycled.

The best recycling is to give a second life to anything that is still usable, by sending it to a charity of your choice.  In Chelsea, we are lucky to have Goodwill, which is located in the mall on south M-52, but any charity or rummage sale will both provide funds for the group, and keep good stuff out of the recycling stream. That’s a win-win.

For the rest of it … here is a partial list of products, often made of plastic, with a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down indicator for recycling purposes.

thumb's-upThe following are ALL thumbs up:

Toys:  All types, from big things like play structures and wading pools, through mobility toys like Big Wheels and wagons, to small things like Barbie houses and toddler toys.

Storage Containers like those made by Rubbermaid and Tupperware, as well as many other companies.  Don’t forget about plastic filing cabinets and other large plastic storage devices.

Kitchen and household helpers, like laundry baskets, trash cans, plastic buckets and dish drainers, etc. Also decorations, like picture frames (sans the glass), knickknacks and flower pots.

Plastic accessories: Think of hair clips, combs, and Crocks.

Molded lawn furniture or plastic items used in the house (e.g., kid furniture or a step-stool.)

Plastic dinnerware—all categories:  picnic/party disposables (except for Styrofoam), every-day dishes and tableware, and all plastic utensils.

Medicine Bottles:  CAUTION–Those with unused medicine should be disposed of properly.  Take the bottle, with the medicine in it, and deposit it in the collector at the Chelsea Police Station lobby. For an empty bottle, check the number on the bottom.

thumb's-downThe following are definitely thumbs down:

Foam Rubber:  No, no, no.  Not for any type, ever.  Not even foam flip-flops.

Garden hoses or other rubber materials, even if they appear to be plastic.

Visqueen, winterizing boat plastic wraps, bubble wrap, pool covers and other soft flexible plastic wraps. Not even rain ponchos.

Not sure about a plastic item you don’t see listed here?  Give WWRA a call at 734-475-6160 during business hours. We will take it if we can, or tell you its trash.

Reggie has loved the feedback and questions from this series on plastics. And, in case you missed the previous two columns, click here and here. He will be answering them next week—so send him any more thoughts you still have about plastics at [email protected]

Reggie Raccoons Royal Recycling Review:

  • Recycling puts materials back into use; trash is for things that cannot be used again.
  • Flexible plastic of all kinds go in the trash, not in the recycling bins.
  • Remember there are some alternative uses for plastic bags on their way to the trash.
  • Styrofoam and Polystyrene are good for packaging, but have to go to the trash.
  • Plastics 1 and 2 can live anew, but 3 to 8 just don’t rate.
  • Most other plastics are recyclable—but never foam rubber, garden hoses, or flexibles.
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2 thoughts on “Reggie, the Recycling Raccoon asks: ‘So what do we do with other plastic materials?’”

  1. Is there a 1-page recycling cheat sheet available somewhere? I’d like to laminate it and duct tape it to the inside lid of my curbside recycling bin as a reminder. I’m sure I’m guilty of putting non-recyclable items into the bin (out of ignorance, not malice).

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