‘Tis the season to put away the garden hose and untangle Christmas lights. As you winterize the garden and bring out your decorations, remember that long, rope-like objects such as garden hose and Christmas lights do not belong in your curbside recycling bin. Wires, ropes and chains wrap around and damage spinning parts at recycling plants. These items are referred to as “tanglers” by recycling workers Tanglers are problematic at recycling plants because they present considerable safety hazards to the workers who hand-sort our recycling. There is nothing recyclable about tanglers, even if they are made from material (such as metal) that could be recycled.
Hose contaminating recycling
Photo by Cody Marshall – Recycling Partnership
On any given day, hundreds of tons of recyclable materials are sorted, baled and shipped to their final recycling destination. The only way to sort large volumes of recycling is to automate the process as much as possible. Sending tanglers through the automated machinery results in significant damage and maintenance challenges to the machinery, resulting in more downtime to fix and maintain these automated machines. When it comes to deciding if an item belongs in the curbside recycling, remember that if it can be tangled or is made of more than one type of material, such as plastic and metal (such as wire), it is not recyclable at the curbside.
If you would like to keep tanglers out of the landfill, look for drop-off locations that accept these items to be reused or recycled such as e-waste bins for your wired appliances, and metal locations for your cables and chains. Trans-Jordan’s public convenience center accepts e-waste and metal for free. But if you are unable to bring tanglers to a drop-off location, please do not place them in your curbside recycling, just place them in your trash can instead.