The tour of the PG County recycling depot was fascinating. Really! We got to see all the stages of the recycling process. Here are some of the most surprising aspects:
1) You don't have to clean items before recycling them. Yes, the recycling depot has huge machines, which can deal with clean or unclean items. The only reason to clean items is if you feel that the food might attract pests around your recycling bin. Also, cleaning your items helps reduce pests and smells at the recycling depot too, but still the recycling depot does not need the items cleaned beforehand.
2) The recycling depot is a business; they want to recycle and make money. The depot makes money through recycling and thus tries to recycle everything it receives.
3) Please do not recycle garden hoses. They wrap around the machines and cause damage. Garden hoses should be recycled through Richie's Land Reclamation. Also, while we were there, a worker pulled out a car battery from the recycling. Car batteries can't be recycled through regular curb-side recycling, but they can be recycled through DC hazardous waste recycling.
4) Please bag your bags. Plastic bags of all sorts (grocery bags, candy bags, cellophane, etc.) are recyclable, but they have to be pulled off the conveyor belts right at the beginning. Otherwise, they will wrap around the machinery and cause mayhem. So, put all your bags into another bag. Alternatively, you can recycle your bags through the grocery stores. However, aside from bagging your bags, please don't bag your recycling. Of course, the best thing is to avoid plastic bags altogether.
I'll write more about the tour soon.