Recycling options expand for area residents, businesses

Recycling options expand for area residents, businesses
Posted on 06/01/2022

Starting today, many Lane County residents with curbside recycle carts—including those in Eugene and Springfield—and customers at all Lane County transfer stations can add #1 and #2 bottles, jars, and jugs to their recycling.

 

This expanded list of items—which must be clean, dry, and larger than a tennis ball—rejoin the recyclable materials stream after being excluded in 2018, following a global recycling market crisis. Since then, the market and sorting process has improved, according to Lane County Waste Reduction Program Supervisor Angie Marzano.

 

“Since the crisis, local material recovery facilities, or MRFs, have worked to add additional machinery and advanced technology to sort and clean up the recycling stream,” Marzano said. “We’ve also seen domestic markets improve and more companies buying post-consumer resin made from recycled plastics.”

 

The City of Eugene’s Acting Waste Prevention Program Manager Deveron Musgrave said that since 2018, city staff frequently heard from residents and businesses wanting to recycle more household plastics.

 

“We’re excited to see these additions to our commingled recycling in Eugene, and the opportunity to once again have an expanded array of plastic items including condiment, personal care, and cleaning product packaging collected in the commingled recycling stream,” Musgrave said. “Local businesses will also be able to divert significantly more plastic toward recycling due to the changes.”

 

Once the plastic is collected, the material is taken to a local reload facility where it is baled and transported to facilities such as WestRock, a Portland-based MRF. WestRock sorts single-stream recycling materials to be sold to end buyers.

 

Marzano said these latest enhancements are just one of many Oregon residents can expect in the coming years.

 

“The 2021 passage of the state’s Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act ensures that Lane County residents will continue to see improvements in local community programs,” Marzano said. 

 

The act—which will make recycling easier for the public to use, expand access to recycling services, and upgrade the facilities that sort recyclables—is slated for a full rollout by July 1, 2025. 

 

More information about what items are now included in area recycling can be found at LaneCountyOR.gov/recycle and eugenerecycles.org.