Recycler now taking more plastic

Steve Foss uncovers a plastic bale of No. 5 containers (yogurt, cottage cheese and juice containers) at CRI—Curbside Recycling Indefinitely—which will now be recycled.

Know those yogurt, cottage cheese and margarine containers you feel guilty about tossing into the garbage? Keep them out of the landfill by recycling them at CRI, Curbside Recycling Indefinitely.

The recycling service that is subsidized in part by the city of Grand Junction now is accepting No. 5 plastics.

CRI currently accepts No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, along with other recyclable materials.

But starting this month, CRI co-owner Steve Foss said he located a domestic mill that accepts the No. 5 plastics. Before taking on any new recyclable materials, Foss makes certain the materials won’t shipped off to another country to be disposed of improperly. No. 5 plastics from CRI will be sent to a collection facility in Nebraska and shipped off again to a facility in Texas that creates tarps for trucks, Foss said.

“We have people that have been saving them up for quite some time,” Foss said of customers saving No. 5 plastics to recycle locally. “I had a gal call me who said she was saving pill bottles.”

Other recycling companies that take plastics No. 1 through 7 are not likely being recycled in an environmentally friendly way, Foss said. That’s because many recyclable plastics are shipped overseas, typically to China, he said.

Plastics labeled No. 1 and No. 2 make up 90 percent of the plastics used in homes. The containers are used for items such as water bottles and detergents and there are stateside markets that recycle those items.

Foss seeks U.S. markets for all types of recyclable plastics, but hasn’t yet found trusted places that will accept plastics that are numbered 3, 4, 6 and 7.

Methods of recycling plastics in China are degrading air quality and contaminating ground water, according to news reports.

“There really are no markets for most plastics but to send them to China. As soon as they say they send them there, I say, ‘No, thank you,’ ” Foss said. “A lot of these brokers don’t even know where (the materials) are going. The conversations at times can be depressing. They’re demonstrating a love for the buck. I’m trying to demonstrate a love for the planet.”

Before taking on new materials, Foss prefers to have three mills lined up that will accept the materials. That ensures a backup plan in case one mill goes out of business. It also helps to maintain stability for customers. Foss doesn’t want to accept new recyclable items, then later have to announce the company is no longer able to take them after the public has become accustomed to recycling those items.

Last year, CRI added to the materials it accepts to include paperboard, or materials like non-glossy, flattened cereal boxes.

“If somebody’s going to go to the trouble of recycling something, I better find a way to recycle it,” he said.


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