Aberdeen's curbs are about to take a big, green leap.
For years, we've been trained to only recycle No. 1 and 2 plastics — think clear bottles, no caps.
Thanks to a new agreement between the city of Aberdeen and Dependable Sanitation, plastics Nos. 1 through 7 — excluding Nos. 4 and 6 — will now be picked up in your blue bins every week starting in April.
What's the difference? Basically, if you have a bottle or jug with a screw-on cap, now it can be recycled. No. 2 plastics include most milk jugs and detergent bottles, for instance. No. 5 plastics include yogurt cups, medicine containers, ketchup and syrup bottles.
Dependable Sanitation owner Mike Erickson says a lot of folks have trouble picking out the numbers under the plastic containers. This new system is meant to make recycling easier and be sure less stuff gets rejected.
And they can all be thrown together because Dependable will sort them out back at the center.
But for this to work, everyone needs to get involved.
First, the city and Dependable really do need to alert residents that their blue bins can now be filled with all kinds of stuff.
To encourage this, residents should be able to request and receive a second blue bin to accommodate the extra recyclables. They won't recycle more if there's no room to do it.
Neighbors need to spread the word, too. If the guy next door isn't filling his blue bin, why not knock and ask if he needs help getting started with recycling?
Being conservative with waste is good for the environment but also good for our landfill. That we are already being charged as residents for the privilege of recycling means it behooves us financially to recycle.
We know some folks who've grown frustrated by recycling in town and stopped doing it altogether. Others have told us that there is no point, that there is just as much environmental waste in recycling as there is to throwing the trash out.
Those excuses don't hold water. If it is no difference, why not recycle?
Erickson estimates participation in city recycling is about 50 to 60 percent. In some neighborhoods, it's closer to 100, but in others about 10 percent. That old mentality has to change.
Of course, the best thing we can do is reduce the amount of waste we buy and discard and reuse the stuff we already have rather than trashing it all.
There are still some things Dependable can't accept, such as plastic grocery bags or the caps from all these bottles. But we'll take baby steps to no steps at all.