The issue of what to do with caps and lids has been the most common question asked since this campaign began, deserving of an entire article devoted to the subject. Some residents have been throwing away all of their caps and lids. Others have been throwing them into the blue barrel, either separately or still attached to the container. Here are the facts:
Metal lids from glass jars and bottles, of any size, should be RECYCLED. Rinse them (and rinse the glass container, too) and drop them right into your barrel. Do not leave these lids on the containers.
Plastic caps and lids from glass containers, that are less than 2 inches in diameter, need to be thrown in the TRASH. That is because they will fall through the sorting equipment and end up as residue. Note that this applies to plastic tops of glass containers only. Salad dressing and soy sauce bottles are some examples in this category.
Plastic caps and lids from glass containers that measure more than 2 inches of diameter can be dropped right into the RECYCLING barrel.
Caps on plastic bottles (like beverage bottles, lotion bottles, liquid soap bottles) can beRECYCLED, but if they measure less than 2 inches in diameter they need to be LEFT ON the container. After rinsing either put the top loosely back on the container, or tighten it and then poke a hole in the container so air can escape. Why is this necessary? The heavy equipment in the recycling center can crush the containers, and trapped air creates projectiles out of the tops, potentially resulting in injury.
Large plastic tops measuring more than 2 inches in diameter (think of containers used for margarine, sour cream, hummus, take-out food, etc.) are typically made from the same material as their container and can be RECYCLED. No need to leave them on the container.
Can lids (soup, tuna, beans, etc.) can also be RECYCLED. It’s best to drop them right back into the can once it’s rinsed.
The goal of West Hartford’s recycling outreach campaign is to not only increase the volume of material that goes into the blue barrel rather than the green one, but also to ensure that only recyclable materials go into the blue barrel. And remember that whatever ends up in the trash barrel needs to be able to burn; more on that in a future article.
Any questions? Email them to Dave Gabriele at email@example.com.
Recycle This, Trash That, is a community outreach program for the Town of West Hartford funded by Covanta Industries, the town’s trash-to-energy facility. Ronni Newton is contracted as the recycling campaign editor for the Public Works Department in the Town of West Hartford.