Sorting out the new recycling rules in Clay County – WJXT News4JAX

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County focusing on high-value items in recycling program to avoid high costs

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County has adjusted its pick-up and drop-off recycling programs and there are new guidelines for residents on what can and cannot be recycled.

Some common materials are no longer acceptable, including glass, household mixed paper (like newspapers or magazines), cardboard that is not corrugated (like cereal boxes) and bridled plastic containers.

Recycling in Clay County is still highly encouraged, but Milton Towns, Clay County’s director of environmental services, said mixing those materials has led to major fees.

Processors went from paying the county $6 per ton to now charging the county $85 per ton for the same materials.

“We went from a revenue, a small revenue of about $16,000 last year to a projected cost this coming year of $232,000,” Towns said.

RELATED: City sifters demo new recycling inspection program launching in Jacksonville

Towns said the county is now targeting materials that have more value and have a higher chance of being reused.

Those items include:

  • Corrugated cardboard (2 sheets of paper with a wavy line in the middle)

  • No. 1 plastic bottles (like water bottles or soda bottles)

  • No. 2 plastic bottles (like milk and detergent jugs)

  • Metal cans (like aluminum or steel)

“Aluminum is probably the best item to be recycled because it can be used 100% over and over and over again. It does not really have a shelf life,” Towns said. “For your paper products, each time it is processed and made into a new material, the fibers get shorter. So, at some point in time, it ends up being used as insulation or something, and it is no longer recyclable again.

MORE: Details on the changes to Clay County’s recycling program

The new changes can be a lot to remember, but Towns said there is one over-arching guideline.

“When in doubt, throw it out,” he said.

Towns said if people do not adjust and continue putting the now unacceptable items in with recycling, eventually the county will stop picking up their bins curbside. There is no firm date of when it will enforce that policy.

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