Government Public Works

Recycling Deemed Essential Service so Let’s Recycle Properly in West Hartford

A contaminated load of recycling from West Hartford residents. Photo courtesy of Katherine Bruns

A friendly recycling alert from the Town of West Hartford’s Department of Public Works.

By Katherine Bruns, Recycling Coordinator

Due to COVID-19 “stay at home orders” more material is being generated for recycling.

Let’s take this quarantine time to learn what is allowable in our recycling stream. Help the hard workers in the “essential services” waste industry work efficiently by keeping plastic bags and other contaminates out. We are grateful for their hard work in these difficult times!

Please do not bag recyclables in plastic bags!

Allowed recyclable items should be placed loosely in the Blue Recycling Bin without a bag of any kind. All plastic bags, including plastic shopping bags are unacceptable for curbside recycling.

Plastic bags hinder the recycling process by:

  • Not allowing the haulers to see if other non-recyclable material are in the Blue Bin
  • Contaminating otherwise valuable recycling material
  • Wrapping around recycling machinery resulting in frequent shuts downs, damage of the machinery and wasting time and tax dollars while workers cut plastic out

By recycling properly we allow workers to safely do their job getting valuable recyclables to market.

The photo featured above shows a recent load of West Hartford recycling that was too contaminated with non-allowable material. As a result it was rejected at the recycling processing center and sent to trash. This means that the actual recyclable material had to be thrown away too, losing material with monetary recycling value.

The photo below shows workers at a recycling facility cutting plastic bags out of recycling machinery. Machines are often shut down up to three times a day for several hours at a time for this tedious work – losing time and tax-payer money.

As a reminder, the Yard Waste and Recycling Center accepts many items not allowable in Blue Bins like metal, clothing, electronics, mattresses, and paint. Please see the complete list on the Department of Public Works website.

Workers cutting plastic bags out of the recycling equipment. Photo courtesy of Katherine Bruns

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  • Thanks for recycling update. What happened to Simply Recycle’ s pink plastic bag curb-side pick up every 2 weeks? They took fabric remnants as well as clothing and very convenient. And, I’m also wondering about how/where to recycle Styrofoam.

    • The pink bag program has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Sadly it doesn’t appear that there is a market locally for Styrofoam to be recycled. ~Ronni

    • Good news! Just had an update this morning that Simple Recycling will resume April 27th! On your recycling day. Please spread the news. As for taking your recycling, The WH Yard Waste and Recycling Center at 17 Brixton St takes all blue been recyclables PLUS other recyclable materials like textiles, metal and electronics. There is good information on WH Recycles FB page and on the town website.

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