April 22nd was the 39th celebration of Earth Day and the city of Hailey participated by supporting two local groups (WRHS environmental club—WATER—and the newly formed Hailey Climate Action Coalition) to present a Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Informational Fair at the city recycling center on River Street. 

I learned two things about local recycling efforts: First, people are concerned about our climate more than ever and are trying to reduce, reuse and get their recycling right, and, second, hardly anybody really understands the “newest” guidelines.

Blaine County residents take the time to separate their recyclable materials into various material streams (cardboard, paper, metal, plastics) for recycling. That raises the quality of the materials for the companies that will take them and raises the amount those companies are willing to pay for them—which, in turn, helps pay for our recycling center at Ohio Gulch.

The problem starts when people don’t understand what Blaine County can sell at the present time. Our incredible recycling broker, Lamar Waters, has found companies that will take the following four items:

  • Corrugated cardboard—with the wavy paper sandwiched between two outer layers of paper. Flattened—no other paper, cardboard or trash.

  • Office/copy paper and newspaper—taken at curbside if no other paper materials are in the bin.

  • Plastic—only with the recycling No. 1-5 embedded on them. No. 6 or numberless materials cannot be recycled.

  • Metal cans—aluminum and tin (but not aerosol cans).

The part that makes this work is if we all understand that anything other than those four items in each recycling bin is “contamination” in that recycling stream and makes it difficult or impossible to sell/recycle.

Help the earth and us. Reduce packaging, reuse all your materials and then recycle correctly.

Rob Lonning, Hailey

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