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Get smart about recycling contamination

Thursday, November 14, 2019 by Tai Moses

This Friday, Nov. 15, is America Recycles Day, which makes it the perfect time for Austin Resource Recovery to raise awareness about a critical problem in the city’s residential recycling stream: contamination. Contamination in this case means something in the recycling stream that shouldn’t be there and that ruins everything it touches. Some of the most common contaminants are food, Styrofoam and wood, but the most troublesome ones by far are “tanglers” – items such as garden hoses, plastic bags, rope and anything bendable or stretchy. Tanglers pose a hazard to recycling facilities by becoming tangled in the gears of machinery, creating a danger for the employee who has to call a halt to the whole process and manually remove the tangled item from the gears. If you’re uncertain whether or not an item belongs in the trash or the recycling, go to and scroll down to the handy tool, “What Do I Do With…?” All you have to do is type in the name of your item, and the tool will tell you (politely) what to do with it.

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