Just don’t put it in your curbside bin!

Plus: What do you think are the 3 very common contaminants in curbside recycling?

Recycling! It’s a buzz word. Often times what we think of as “recyclable” and “not recyclable” has to do with what you can and can’t put in your curbside bin. But just because it will contaminate your curbside bin, doesn’t mean it isn’t actually recyclable! (For curbside recycling info, check out this link here.) So you can become a recycling warrior and take it to the next level, here are 6 things that ARE RECYCLABLE in Deschutes County:

  1.  Corks!
    Cork is a precious resource that is harvested from trees: an amazing renewable resource that you can find great reuses for if you are feeling crafty. You can also drop them off at places like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. But if you can’t find a reuse for it, Cork ReHarvest is a company that collects the corks and finds a way to recycle them. You can drop your corks off at the Whole Foods Market in Bend. Please note this recycling opportunity is only for real cork corks — not for the ones made out of plastic.
  2. Plastic Film
    Wait! You might think you already know all about this…you might be thinking, “I know! I always drop my plastic grocery bags off at the front of the grocery store!” Well, not so fast. First, in addition to your clean and dry plastic film grocery bags, you can put bubble wrap, case wrap, clean ziplocks, produce bags, 100% plastic mailers, shipping air pillows and more in that bin. (There is one in the front of Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Target, Home Depot and more…click here for a complete list.) Even though the City of Bend has passed a ban on plastic bags, there is still plenty of plastic film in the world that can go in these bins. This film is turned into products such as Trex decking and Polywood outdoor furniture (the latter of which you can purchase at Powderhouse here in Bend!)
  3. Old Musical Instrument Strings
    Calling all musicians! Bend is a town full of them. Did you know they are recyclable? You can drop off your old strings at Central Oregon Recording: 61419 S Hwy 97 Suite N.
  4. PakTech 6-pack Holders
    Hold on to your hard plastic PakTech 6-pack holders and drop them off at Worthy, GoodLife or Cascade Lakes! I heard if you take them to Worthy, you might get a dollar off your next 6 pack or a pint.
  5. Paint!
     And Stains. There are several places around the county where paint can be recycled including most paint stores, ReStores, and Deschutes Recycling. It’s important to keep it out of the landfill because it is a household hazardous waste. There are lots of HHW types accepted at Deschutes Recycling at Knott Landfill.
  6. All Number 5 Plastics
    The Gimme 5 program collects #5 plastics and turns it all into Preserve brand toothbrushes, razors and more. There is a drop off bin at Whole Foods, right in the front of the store!

And here are the 3 most common culprits for curbside contamination. Keep these things out of the blue bin, THEY ARE NOT RECYCLABLE curbside.

  1. Coffee Cups – These are plastic lined and CANNOT be recycled anywhere in Deschutes County. The best thing to do is to Bring Your Own Cup!
  2. Plastic Clamshells – These are made of a low quality plastic that doesn’t have a buyer in the recycling market. They often hold muffins, spinach, and berries. The best thing to do is to avoid purchasing things that come in a clamshell.
  3. Plastic Film – Although this is recyclable at grocery stores and some other places of business, just keep it out of your curbside bin! READ: You can’t bag your recyclables! Just put them directly in the curbside bin and take the trash bag (as long as it’s clean) to be recycled at the store. Or better yet, don’t line your indoor recycling bin to begin with. Just make sure things are clean before you put them in there. It’s always best practice to bring your own bag whenever you can — this includes reusable produce bags that you can even make out of old t-shirts. But if you do have plastic film, reusing and then recycling is the best course of action.

And there is so much more that can be recycled. Check out our Find a Recycler or Reuser tool.

    • Rethink Waste Project says:

      Great question! Here is a link to a t-shirt-into-produce bag tutorial. You cut holes in the shirt to provide venting for the produce. This one is a little more involved.

      But you can also just a make a regular reusable grocery bag from a t-shirt with no ventilation necessary. This can be as simple as cutting off the sleeves and around the neck so the shirt is now more like a tank top. The tank top shoulder straps act as handles. Then you simply sew across the bottom of the shirt and voila! Bag. Here is a link to one example of that type of bag, but there are my different tutorials for different kinds of bags out there.

    • Rethink Waste Project says:

      Whole Foods has informed me that they DO still have the Gimme 5 program, but they are waiting for the company to send them a new fixtures. However, they will still accept all #5 plastics, you just have drop them off at the customer service desk!

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