Why Can’t More Items be Recycled?

Recyclables accepted at the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) have some marketable value. This includes: aluminum cans, 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 limited markets. This includes many plastics, such as Styrofoam, flower pots, bags/film, toys, and black plastic. 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 can't be recycled. Glossy boxes for frozen food. ice cream, and butter are not recyclable because there is a plastic layer built into the 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 fall through the sorting screen. 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