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The Recycling Loop & Single-Stream Recycling
Single-Stream Recycling

No more placing recyclable paper, cardboard, recyclable cans/bottles/plastics in a separate bin; no need to put out two recycling bins if it all fits into one!

Thanks to new technology and new trucks, all household recycles can now be placed in the same container; this is called 'single-stream' recycling. The sorting technology and workers at the sorting plants do the separation with conveyor belts carrying each type of recyclable to a different place.

Often, people feel it's too much work to sort their recyclables and that the bins take up too much room with paper and junk mail in one bin and everything else in another. If you like, you may use an old trash barrel with a "Recycle" sticker on it (stickers available at the DPW free of charge).  Now there is absolutely no excuse not to take part in mandatory recycling.

Mandatory recycling ensures that we get recyclables out of the trash and therefore out of the incinerator in Saugus where the City pays an additional fee for every ton of trash taken there.  This graphic shows the single-stream recyclable items.

This link shows how the material is sorted once it gets to the facility.

Can I recycle it?

Use the lookup tool below to find out if an item can be recycled or is considered trash.

You may also find the Earth911's recycling search tool useful as well.   Click here for Earth911.

Non-Recyclables That Are Considered Trash

The following items are not recyclable and are considered trash:

  • Plastic Bags of any Kind Including Pellet Bags
  • Styrofoam products of any Kind
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Spray Bottle Pumps
  • Deli & Salad Plastic Containers
  • Plastic Disposable Plates, Cups, and Silverware
  • Napkins
  • 3-Ring Binders
  • CDs and Video Tapes
  • Greasy or Food-Stained Pizza Boxes
  • Paper with Food Stains

Recycling is Mandatory and Saves Money

Recycling your trash is an important way to help preserve our environment, reduce consumption of precious natural resources, and save yourself and the City money.  The more items that residents recycle, the less money they will spend on City bags. This helps Gloucester reach its recycling goals as each item removed from the waste stream reduces the City's trash disposal costs and enables us to put those savings toward other important City services all while helping to preserve our environment!

So, remember; before you discard something into your trash container, ask yourself if the item is recyclable; even a small change can make a difference.

The Recycling Loop 

recyclew.gifThe three recycling arrows logo is the universal symbol for recycling and is printed on millions of products that can either be recycled or were made from recycled content.  Each arrow in the recycling logo represents one step in the three-step process that completes the recycling loop:

The first step/arrow represents collection: After you place your recyclable materials into your curbside recycling bin, the materials are then processed and sold to manufacturing facilities such as steel, paper, and glass mills.

The second step/arrow represents manufacturing.  The recyclable materials are converted into new products by local companies and shipped to stores across the country to be placed on shelves as new consumer goods, for example:

  • Paper and cardboard are turned into cereal/cracker boxes, book covers, and game boards at a recycling paper mill in Fitchburg
  • Glass bottles and jars are melted and used to make new containers in facilities such as St. Gobain Containers in Milford
  • Milk jugs, detergent bottles, and other #2 plastics become landscaping timbers and whiskey barrel planters made by Smartware Products in Leominster

Be careful as the symbol can be misleading; it is not a recycling stamp even though the graphic is clearly slated towards recycling.  The symbol is a resin recycling code which indicates the type of plastic.   The symbol does not necessarily mean that a product is made with recycled content or that it can be recycled in the City’s curbside collection program.  Rather, some plastic products are coded with the symbol merely indicating that somewhere they may be recyclable but not necessarily accepted in Gloucester's curbside program, for example:

Codes 1 and 2 (milk bottles and soda bottles) are easily recycled but the other codes typically are not.  Styrofoam (known as 'expanded polystyrene foam'); is Code 6.  You cannot recycle it in the sense of reducing it to constituent parts and making something new out of it the way you can with Codes 1 and 2, therefore even though it is stamped #6, it is not accepted in the City's curbside program.  

The third step/arrow represents when you/the consumer purchase products made with recycled content. 

'Buy Recycled' Myths:

Here are four common myths and misconceptions about recycled products:

  • 'Recycled products are hard to find.'  This used to be true but no longer.  From the neighborhood grocery store to national retailers, stores sell thousands of products made from or packaged in recycled content material.
  • 'Recycled paper isn’t as good as non-recycled paper.'  Recycled content papers now share the same printing and performance characteristics as their 'virgin' equivalent.  Recycled paper no longer looks different, has the same whiteness and brightness of other papers, and offers the same performance level on copiers as well as laser and ink-jet printers. 
  • 'Recycled products cost more.'  While this was true in the past for some materials, today's recycled products are competitively priced with their non-recycled counterparts and may actually cost less.
  • 'Recycled products are inferior in quality.'  Today's recycled products have come a long way in quality, reliability, and dependability. The Buy Recycled Business Alliance polled hundreds of corporate purchasing agents on their satisfaction with recycled content products of which 97% were pleased with the performance of recycled content products.

 When you 'Buy Recycled', you complete the recycling loop!

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