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Franklin County, Massachusetts

Why Can't More Items be Recycled?

Recyclables accepted at the Springfield MRF have some marketable value. This includes: aluminum cans, foil, pie plates; steel (tin) food and beverage cans; glass bottles and jars; plastic food, beverage, detergent and personal care (shampoo, soap) containers under 2 gallons in size; milk, juice and “aseptic” cartons; and paper, such as mixed/office paper, cardboard, cereal boxes. These materials are manufactured into new items—new cans and bottles, carpet and clothing (from plastic bottles) and new paper products.

Materials not accepted at the MRF include items that have no developed markets—that is, manufacturers are not reusing the materials to make new products. This includes many plastics, such as Styrofoam; flower pots; bags/film; toys; black plastic; egg cartons; and CD & VCR cases. Pizza boxes and paper towels may contain food residues that prohibit recycling. Paper recycling should always be kept clean and free of food or organic matter. Napkins, paper towels, and tissues should not be put in recycling bins because the fibers in these products are very short and they do not make a good quality recycled content paper product. Egg cartons and glossy boxes that show white strands when torn (frozen food, butter boxes) are not recyclable because paper manufacturers find it difficult to use these grades of paper. Other materials—such as buckets and other items bigger than 2.5 gallons, hangers, scrap metal, and plastic bags—can get tangled in sorting or baling equipment. Lids and medicine bottles can fall through bales. Spray and aerosol cans are hazardous and can blow up when baled. Bottles that contained motor oil, pesticides, or other hazardous substances cannot be recycled due to chemical residues in the bottles. Ceramics, baking dishes, plate glass, light bulbs and mirrors are not recyclable with glass bottles and jars because they have different melting temperatures. Scrap metal is too large to bale, so although it is recyclable it is collected separately.

MRF operators also ask that you do not put recyclables in plastic bags. Opening the bags slows down the workers at the recycling facility. Bags also get hung up on the sorting machinery and create a huge litter problem because they blow outside of the facility.

Detailed “Yes & No” recycling list

Franklin County Solid Waste Management District
50 Miles Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
Tel: (413) 772-2438
MA Relay for the hearing impaired: 711 or 1-800-439-2370 (TTY/TDD)
Fax: (413) 772-3786
Staff email addresses  

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