What’s Changed With Recycling?

By: Alexandra Clarke, Walsh Jesuit High School Senior Experience Student

With the continuing growth of recycling, requirements have changed in order to make it easier on the recycling plants.

As of December of 2013 the city of Akron has made some changes to the recycling process. One of the biggest changes is that they no longer want the recyclables to be placed in clear or blue plastic bags inside the bins, now the materials can be placed loosely in the bin and simply rolled to the curb. This change came about because plastic bags make the process more difficult on the plant. Workers must open and remove the bags from cans, and the bags can clog the machinery and momentarily stop the recycling process.

In addition to no longer wanting recyclables bagged here are other changes and reminders for Akron residents who use curbside recycling in a list of do’s & don’ts:

Do recycle:

  • Milk, juice, broth, soup and other food and beverage cartons after rinsing them out and flattening the cartons
  • Plastics No. 1 through No. 7
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Aluminum and metal cans, glass bottles and jars, labels can remain on the containers
  • Non-shredded paper products including newspapers, office/school papers, junk mail, phone books, cereal boxes, and tissue boxesNo_Sign_with_new_items_5_30_12

Don’t recycle:

  • Styrofoam
  • Bottle caps and lids
  • Aluminum foil
  • Food waste
  • Leaves, grass clippings or brush
  • Light bulbs
  • Pizza boxes
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Aerosol cans
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tarps
  • Tissues/ Napkins
  • Campaign signs
  • Electronic waste
  • Medical waste
  • Ceramics
  • Wood

If you don’t and would like to begin participating in the recycling program call 3-1-1 from any landline within the city or 330-375-2311 from any telephone to request a recycling bin!

Remember curb service customers who participate in recycling recieve a $2.50 discount per month and pay $19 compared to the $21.50 charged to customers who do not recycle. Make sure to start recycling today to not only save yourself money but help save the environment!



Recycling: When In Doubt Throw It Out

by Cindy Pantea

Our friends at ReWorks have updated us on the preferred methods in curbside recycling:

Milk, juice, broth, soup and other food and beverage cartons like those shown below are recyclable, but not their screwtop lids. The small lids from these containers cause problems for the recycling companies.

recyclable cartons

This is a sample of all the types of cartons which are recyclable. Throw away the lids in the trash.

Rigid plastics, such as detergent bottles, food containers (like those that contained whipped cream or sour cream) are recyclable after a quick rinse, but not the lids. Again, the lids, either due to size or material consistency can cause problems for the recycling companies.

plastics recycle

This is a sample of the types of plastic bottles that are recyclable. Plastic food containers are recyclable too, just remember to rinse. Throw away the lids before recycling.

Glass bottles and jars are recyclable after a quick rinse, and it is not necessary to remove labels. The lids, however, are not recyclable due to size or material consistency.

glass bottles and jars are recyclable

Here is a picture of glass jars and bottles ready for recycling. Notice there are no lids. (Labels left on bottles are okay.)

Aluminum and other metal cans are, of course, recyclable after a quick rinse, but if you remove the lids or pull tabs completely from the cans, it is best to throw them away. The lids can be too small or can be made of materials that are not attracted by the magnet that the recycling company uses to gather them for the recycling process. It is not necessary to remove labels. Take special care to avoid exposing sharp edges so that you as well as the recycler do not become injured.

metal cans are recyclable

Note: Aerosol cans and, as of December 2013, aluminum foil are not good for recycling due to possible food residue.

break down cardboard for recyclingPaper and cardboard are recyclable. This means includes envelopes and phone books. The only thing that is asked is that the cardboard be broken down flat (as shown in the picture to the left). Do not tie or bundle paper and cardboard.

recycle paper and cardboard

While everything pictured above is recylable, the following list tells us what is not recyclable:

NO used oil or oil containers. This means pizza boxes, too. Food contamination is one of the big problems for recycling companies.

NO egg cartons of any type because they contain styrofoam. Unless you purchase eggs in a plastic container, do not put in the recycling bin

NO electronics (including cell phones and appliances)

NO batteries or light bulbs (of any type).

NO hazardous wastes (paint pesticides or cleaners).

NO widow panes, mirrors or ceramics.

NO medical waste. Use the D.U.M.P. program.

NO auto parts, hardware tools or garden hoses.

NO hangers.

NO metal items, railroad ties/spikes, or chains

NO yard waste or food waste.

NO trash.

NO clothing, shoes, or toys.

If you have a question regarding recycling, contact ReWorks, or use this philosophy: When in doubt, throw it out.




4th Annual Mixed Paper Drive in Akron Public/Private Schools was a SUCCESS!

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

recylce bowl

It’s that time of the year again! Keep Akron Beautiful is proud to announce the winners of our 4th annual mixed paper drive competition, in which the  Akron Public Schools (APS) and selected private schools in the Akron area participated in.  St. Mary School, Innes CLC and Kenmore High School were declared the winners of the month-long competition by recycling the most paper per pound, per student. St. Mary School recycled 21.1 pounds per student or 1.99 tons total of paper to win a school-wide pizza party and $250 cash prize courtesy of the River Valley Paper Company. Innes CLC came out strong, in the middle school division, and recycled 4.26 pounds per student which is equal to 1,730 pounds total. Kenmore High School recycled 3.848 pounds per student or 1.35 tons total to each win a $500 cash prize courtesy of the River Valley Paper Company and a field trip tour of the River Valley Paper Company plant for 50 students and faculty.

For the first year since the birth of the paper drive, two new categories were added. With the most pounds of paper recycled overall, North High School was our Overall winner, with 2.12 tons of paper. Case Elementary School was the winner in our Most Improved Category, recycling 1,900 pounds more in 2013 than in 2012! Overall, we are proud to announce that 25.62 tons or 51,250 pounds of paper was recycled citywide.

To help celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15, 2013, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) in conjunction with the River Valley Paper Company sponsored the 4th annual mixed paper drive competition in 19 Akron public schools and 8 private schools in the Akron area. From October 21 to November 15, community residents and local businesses helped participating Akron schools attempt to win this competition by taking their magazines, phone books, paperboard, catalogs, junk mail, office paper, newspaper and cardboard to a school parking lot bin. Currently, bins are located at the following Akron Public School Locations: Helen Arnold CLC, Betty Jane CLC, Case Elementary School, Firestone Park Elementary School, Forest Hill CLC, Glover CLC, Seiberling Elementary School, David Hill CLC, Leggett CLC, Judith Resnick CLC, McEbright CLC, Sam Salem CLC, Voris CLC, Findley CLC,  East 7-8 CLC, Miller South School of the Visual & Performing Arts, Hyre CLC, Innes CLC, Mason CLC, Litchfield Middle School, Kenmore High School, North High School, Ellet High School, and Buchtel High School. The following private school locations are also included in our competition: Chapel Hill Christian School, Discovery Montessori School, Hoban High School, Imagine School, Old Trail School, Our Lady of the Elms, Saint Mary School and The Edge Academy.

For the second year, Keep Akron Beautiful sponsored a poster contest. Over 100 students submitted art for the poster contest. The winner was Montana Cheek, a student from Ms. Jodi Apple’s class at Innes CLC. Montana received a $50 American Express gift card, and Ms. Apple received a $50 American Express gift card as well. Montana will be the featured artist for our 2014 America Recycles Day campaign. All of the posters were hung for residents to see at Earth Fare, Fairlawn, from November 1-15, 2013, courtesy of Earth Fare Community Relations Manager, Helen Dauka.

This paper drive was designed to prove that Akron’s school staff and students, parents, community members and local businesses can help save trees, which purge the atmosphere of greenhouse gases just by giving our trash a second life. The receptacles are still in place and are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Filling up the collection bins helps the schools raise money for clubs, their recycling efforts or team uniforms.


Grandma was a Recycler and Composter

by Cindy Pantea

I thought it was crazy at the time. Grandma washing out bread bags to reuse for lunchbox sandwiches, washing tin foil for reuse, and that smelly metal Maxwell House recycling can under the kitchen sink housing rotten, fermenting food scraps for her garden.

If you had grandparents or parents who lived through the depression era of the 30s, this may sound familiar. Now, we have been experiencing tough economic times, and you are hearing more and more about recycling and sustainable gardening — actions we should have been borrowing from our recycling, composting grandparents and then perfecting and showing our kids how to do.

We Became Wasteful

There’s no denying it…we were wasteful. And guess what? Now we are experiencing hard times economically. History sure has a way of repeating itself it seems.

Plus, our wastefulness has put our planet in jeopardy. So many of us are just now reusing glass or plastic containers, or at least putting them in our City of Akron recycling bins.

But when it comes to gardening, we are having a tough time getting things to grow or having to spend a lot of money on good soil just to get the $4.00 quarter grown tomato plant to make its fruit. So we think it is easier to just buy the food we need. Until that grocery bill climbs as high as the scraps of food we send to the landfill.

We could just compost, of course.  Ewww…but the contents of that coffee can smelled awful.

On the other hand, I will say this about the contents of that smelly coffee can: Grandma had a great berry patch and vegetable/fruit garden (as well as flowerbed), and she certainly shared with us the fruits and vegetables of her extra effort.

Composting Doesn’t Have to Stink

Grandma obviously did her own type of composting. She was saving scraps and rotting them down to throw right in the garden soil. It worked for her, but Polly, our Flowerscape Director, doesn’t recommend it, as you run the risk of the fermenting scraps being too acidic for your garden plants.

But Grandma was on the right track. For indoor composting, she should have:

  1. Poked some holes in the bottom and top sides of a larger metal or plastic container.
  2. Sat the container on a brick (or something to keep the bottom from touching the floor) and also sit the brick in/on a flat container or something to catch leakage or spills. Note: Steps 1 and 2 give the compost pile air, which is necessary to the composting process.
  3. Layered the food scraps with dirt then dried, dying plant material (leaves from outside, leaves from an inside plant), and then adding water. Note: This layering step is really what helps eliminates the smell.
  4. Stirred the composting material regularly. Note: You can actually speed up the composting process by stirring more often.

Of course, she also could have just taken her scraps outside more often to an outdoor compost bin and done the same process. As long as you are layering with dirt and yard material (grass, leaves, small twigs) you’re good to go.

Here’s something else to remember: Don’t add oils, bones, meat or fish to your compost pile.

The compost is ready when it looks like soil that is consistent in texture, without any recognizable organic materials like your food scraps and leaves. Sometimes you’ll see a tiny twig or wood bit which is okay, but the rest should be unrecognizable. Also, the compost should not stink but rather have a pleasant and earthy scent.