A major challenge recyclers deal with is tanglers. We’ve discussed before how plastic bags can get wrapped up in the sorting equipment used to separate recyclables, but they’re not the only items tying themselves up and causing frustrating knots. Longer items that are flimsy, strong, and not recyclable in curbside recycling carts are causing even worse tangles that limit productivity and raise the cost of recycling for consumers.
The items that most often cause tangles in recycling equipment are hoses, ropes, string lights, and clothes. None of these items belong in your curbside recycling cart, and should instead be handled as waste or taken to a designated drop-off spot. Clothes that cannot be donated to a secondhand store can be taken to a textile recycler, and companies like GemTex will recycle them into items such as new textiles and insulation. Ropes, string, and holiday lights should be treated as waste, or search the Spokane Kootenai Waste Directory for an alternate disposal option.
The dos and don’ts of recycling can feel burdensome and confusing. If you’re getting lost in the details, focus on the basics: paper and cardboard, plastic bottles and jugs, and tin and aluminum cans. When looking at your curbside recycling cart, it might be helpful to imagine those items when they get to the SMaRT center where they are sorted: small and flat items will easily contaminate paper, and long, strong items like string and clothes will cause tangles. Your recyclables should always be clean, dry, and empty, and when in doubt, throw it out!