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Sustainability at Oak Ridge National Laboratory > Questions, Comments, Ideas > Questions > Posts > What plastics can go in office recycle bins?
What plastics can go in office recycle bins?
Recently in 4500N, we received new combination office recycle bins. What types of plastic are allowed in the plastic bin? Is it only drink bottles or can plastic grocery bags or other plastic containers/items be placed in the bin?

ORNL’s Susan Michaud, Pollution Prevention Coordinator responds:


Plastics #1-#7 can be placed in our recycling bins. Plastic bags can be put in our recycling bins, but they will be sorted out and landfilled. Plastic bags can be recycled by placing them in collection locations at grocery stores, where they collect only clean, dry plastic bags. When these bags are co-mingled with other plastics, they become waste. 


On August 3, Debbie Dillener and I visited Rock-Tenn  to better understand what happens to recyclables. Rock-Tenn is a major broker of recyclables in the Knoxville area. They sort collected material at their facility on Proctor Rd and then ship to recycling markets. Plastics #1 and #2 are recycled domestically, typically into carpet in the Dalton, Georgia, area. Plastics #3 - #7 are collected, baled, and shipped overseas for further sorting and possible use. (I have posted the photographs of our tour of Rock-Tenn on the Laboratory Waste Services websiteThey are in the file named 2010 Rock-Tenn Recycling.)


If you have more questions, please contact Debbie Dillener 576-7396 or Susan Michaud 576-1562.


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