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Recycling in the Treasure Valley; How does it work?

Posted by Hughes Group Blog Team on Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 12:07pm.

Recycling is an important part of keeping the environment a clean and safe place, and in many cities, it can be quite difficult to figure out just how to recycle and it can often be too inconvenient to be able to find time to do it. It can also be tough to know exactly what can be recycled. Luckily, because the City of Boise and other government workers in Ada County have made great strides to help the community to recycle and become aware of how they can do it, the Treasure Valley is one of the easiest places to recycle it! The effort put into recycling in the area offers recycling pickup every other week, so there really is no need to worry about the things you are trying to recycle piling up and taking up space. So just what can you recycle and how do you do it?

Because your recycling bin is very limited in what can be included to be sent off to recycling, Boise and several other cities in the Treasure Valley area have adopted a program called the Hefty EnergyBag Program, which allows you to, in addition to putting out your bin to be picked up, put other recyclable materials in an orange bag (that can be purchased at your local Albertson’s or given to you by the city government) to be collected as well. Since the program was implemented, the Boise area has had considerably fewer plastics end up in landfills. About 400 tons of plastics that typically wouldn’t be able to be recycled ends up in the landfill every month only after people spend a lot of time removing them from what is allowed in the recycling bin. These orange bags are starting to drastically reduce that number and use those plastics for some good. The bags can be filled with all kinds of items that are not permitted in your regular recycling bin. After they are picked up, the bags are taken to Salt Lake City. There, a company called Renewology collects these plastics and turns them into synthetic diesel fuel. Even in the short amount of time that the program has been going on, it has already been a great success as Boise has transported over 250,000 pounds of plastic to Renewology. The Treasure Valley area has been a pioneer in this program, with Boise being the first city to implement it city-wide. It can be confusing to know which items should be placed in the bags rather than in the bin. Essentially most plastics that aren’t in the form of a bottle can be placed in the bag, such as plastic bags, bottle caps, straws, juice pouches, candy wrappers, lids, dinnerware, food packaging, disposable cups, bubble wrap, shrink wrap, toothpaste tubes, deodorant sticks, prescription pill bottles, as well as any foam products that you need to dispose of. The several local governments in the area that are participating in the program are the Ada County government, as well as the cities of Boise, Meridian, Garden City, Star, and Middleton.

It would also help you to know that some plastic items cannot be recycled effectively, and should just be thrown in the trash. Lightweight plastic bottles (water bottles), PVC pipes, clamshell containers, fast-food restaurant cups, frozen dinner containers, garden hoses, kids toys, juice cartons, and inflatable items all should be put in your regular trash bin rather than with your recyclable materials.

So you know what kind of plastics are good to be put into bags and which should be thrown away, but what exactly are the items that can be placed normally into your recycling bin? As far as plastics go, the few things that are safe to put in the recycling bin are most bottles, jugs, and jars that are made of plastic, such as milk jugs, soda bottles, and jars for spreads and condiments like peanut butter and mayonnaise. Pretty much all forms of paper is acceptable, so you are fine to throw in office paper, magazines, newspapers, mail and envelopes, etc. All forms of cardboard are acceptable when flattened as well as metal in the forms of foil or aluminum and steel cans.

There are great options for recycling many other items as well. For example, glass can be recycled by taking it to one of 12 convenient drop-off sites located throughout the city of Boise (or, if you pay a monthly fee, it can be picked up from your curb). This has been a great success in the area, with 250 tons of recyclable glass collected every month. There is a facility in Boise where the glass is taken. Here it is broken down and then used for various different industrial processes. This company works hand in hand with the Boise Public Works department and the relationship between the two continues to move swimmingly.

Plastic, paper, and glass aren’t the only things you can send off to be recycled. There are many options for recycling compost as well, believe it or not! Most of the communities in the Treasure Valley area have available options for composting types of waste such as yard materials and biodegradable food waste. In Boise, Republic Services offers bins that you can fill with compost and leave out in order to be picked up.

As you can see, there are so many different ways to recycle if you live in the Treasure Valley area. It is clear that the local governments find it really important and make it a huge priority to take care of the community and the environment. Whether it is in the form of compost, metal, paper, plastic, or glass, there are plenty of options available to recycle the things that would normally just throw away. Take advantage of these many convenient ways to recycle, and help the environment and your community to stay clean and pristine! Idaho is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and the Treasure Valley intends to keep it that way!


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