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County hopes new containers reduce contamination

The Lycoming County Recycling Center in Brady Township. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

Lycoming County residents who use drop-off recycling sites likely have noticed changes at the locations since the pre-pandemic days — for good reason.

“We are trying to keep a sustainable recycling program that is available to the residents,” Lauren Strausser, county recycling coordinator, said.

The bins for plastics represent one of the biggest changes.

Strausser said they now have smaller holes for accepting recyclables to prevent larger plastic items from being dropped inside.

Too many people were dropping off pool liners, lawn furniture or other large plastic items that did not belong in the recycling bins.

Plastic bags are pulled out by hand from the material to be recycled at the Lycoming County Recycling Center in Brady Township. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

Recyclables that belong in the plastics bin include milk and laundry detergent containers that fit in the holes.

Generally, plastics with the number 1 or 2 on the bottom of containers are acceptable for recycling.

People should not attempt to force bigger items into the holes or cut them apart to make them fit, Strausser said.

Other changes involve a common bin for the tin and aluminum recyclables.

“Now things are co-mingled,” she said. “We eliminated the extra containers. But the containers are bigger.”

A large pile of recycling material is scooped up at the Lycoming County Recycling Center in Brady Township. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

Newspapers and cardboard, formerly separated, also go into a single bin.

“A lot of the containers were retrofitted with the changes. Some of them we did order,” she said.

Strausser noted too often the recycling locations are used by people to dump waste or garbage.

For example, she noted the alarming numbers of diapers being dropped off.

“We do see contamination,” she said. “We are trying to decrease the contamination that has been coming in.”

Efforts have also been made to eliminate the steps at some bins.

“That has always been a hazard,” she said.

The Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police Department has been keeping an eye on recycling at drop-off sites.

Cameras at the recycling site in Jersey Shore have captured some of the violators dumping the wrong items into bins.

“That is the one we have been dealing with mostly,” Police Chief Nate Derermer said. “We have actually cited individuals in the past too. People just dump items they believe are recyclable. There have been a handful of violations.”

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