Certain plastics cannot be recycled now in Twin Falls

Published: Jan. 9, 2018 at 5:42 PM MST
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The markets have changed for which materials can and cannot be recycled. PSI Environmental Services, who picks up Twin Falls city trash and recycling, says there are different numbers on plastic materials telling you which category they belong in.

"The difference, quite frankly, is just the type of material. It's a different type of plastic, how it's processed. It's easier to break down and make into other plastic materials later," said Jeff Brewster, district manager of PSI.

Currently, plastics have a number inside a triangle with digits ranging from No. 1-7.

"Look at the bottom of the container or somewhere near the bottom, they generally have the triangle with the number inside of it," he said.

Plastics with a No.1 or No. 2 can still be recycled, but not Nos. 3 to 7.

"We do accept those and there is a market for them. However, with the declining markets, we can't accept other materials at this time," Brewster explained.

The regulation is in place because the recycled material is shipped to China and they are currently not accepting them.

"They've really changed those regulations on contaminating thresholds and they've dropped it to under one percent," he continued. "As you can imagine, any one percent contamination or less is extremely difficult."

For example, if one sour cream container that is recycled with a little sour cream left in a batch of 100 sour cream containers recycled, the threshold has been met and they can't accept it. Items should be cleaned out before they are put in the recycle bin.

If things end up recycled when they shouldn't be, it brings contamination and workers have to pull it out and put it in the landfill.

Some plastics that you used to be able to recycle now aren't being accepted.

"Pretty much of your tub style material, or products that come in those containers. You have your ice cream that comes in that, you have sour cream, cottage cheese," he said. "Pretty much all of those items, your margarine, butter, stuff like that. Basically anything that if the opening is larger than the base, those are the materials we cannot accept."

If you have any questions, contact PSI Environmental at 208-733-4441.