Using Roll Carts Effectively

By now Eliot residents should have received their new recycling roll carts. You should have gotten a large green one for yard debris and a large blue one for plastic, paper and metal. Now that you have them, how do you use them most effectively to reduce reuse and recycle?

First and foremost to make the carts effective they have to be used. Here is a list of what can be recycled:

Blue Roll Carts

Containers with a neck or screw-on lid — 6-oz. or larger
Margarine or yogurt-type tubs — 6-oz. or larger
Rigid plant pots — 4 inches or larger
Buckets — 5-gallons or smaller

NO: lids, deli food containers, Blisterpak, Styrofoam, or plastic bags.

Phone books
Office paper
Junk mail
Milk cartons and aseptic boxes
Cereal boxes
Egg cartons
Wrapping paper and greeting cards without foil
Shredded paper placed in a paper bag

NO: freezer food cartons, coffee cups, food contaminated material, paper towels or tissues.

Tin cans (no need to flatten or remove labels)
Aluminum foil free of food
Empty aerosol cans
Scrap metal no larger than 30”x 8” and 30 lbs.
Dried paint cans
Place small metal items a tin can and close the ends

NO: metal smaller than 2” unless enclosed in a can

Green Roll Carts

Yard debris:
Grass clippings
Fruits and vegetables
Tree trimmings (no more than 36” long and 4” thick)

NO: Food, pet waste, metal, plastic bags, treated wood

Non-Roll cart recyclables

Place bottles and jars in a separate rigid container.

Motor oil
Place oil in a screw-top plastic container closed with a lid, left beside one of the carts.

Additional Tips and Information:

Do not put plastic bags in recycling – they clog recycling equipment.  Instead, check if your favorite grocery store will recycle plastic bags.  Also consider switching to reusable bags for your shopping.

When opening a tin can, leave the lid slightly attached then fold it inside the empty can before placing it in your blue cart.

Wad up aluminum foil into a ball to make it easier to sort at the recycling center.  Never fold it flat as it can be mistaken as paper.

Do not put glass in the blue cart.  Instead use a yellow recycling tub or other rigid container such as a 5 gallon bucket.

Plastic buckets up to 5 gallons in size can be recycled in the blue cart.  Separate the metal handle first.

Metal lids not attached to a can should either be folded into an L shape or collected inside a metal can.

Plastic lids should not be placed in the cart.

Consider reusing plastic water bottles refilling them with filtered water instead of buying bottled water.

Reduce collection fuel costs by only placing your carts on the curb when they are full.  Reducing the number of stops for the trucks reduces idling time which reduces fuel used.

Do not put plastic bags in recycling.  Yes this is repeated but is is very important.  Plastic bags are the number one cause of recyling center sorting issues .

For more information see The City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development web site.