DeKalb to include cartons with recycling

By Terri Sorrentino

DeKalb area residents will soon be able to include plastic coated milk and juice cartons in their blue bins with other mixed recyclables for curb-side pickup.

The plan goes into effect Feb. 17. DeKalb County Recycling Coordinator Scott Ellenberger said the system is innovative and DeKalb is one of only five communities in the nation using a similar program.

DeKalb County Recycling will collect any containers that are shaped the same as the milk cartons and will accept juice boxes, Ellenberger said.

The containers will be sorted by hand, baled and shipped to a Wisconsin paper site where they will be reduced to pulp, he said.

To ensure a successful program, Ellenberger said he stresses the importance of thoroughly rinsing the cartons before placing them in the recycling bin.

“Rinsing the containers is absolutely vital to success,” Ellenberger said. “The paper mill is not tolerant of contamination and if they smell sour milk or juice they will ship the materials back to us and we will have to landfill them.”

DeKalb County Recycling will accept these cartons and a number of other materials which include newspaper, mixed paper, glass, aluminum, tin, plastics numbered one, two and six, six-pack rings and Styrofoam at their drop-off center 24 hours a day.

Student Association Recycling Director Rachel Vellenga said the SA does not plan to offer this type of service.

The SA already brings many recyclables to DeKalb County Recycling and they do not have the number of employee hours needed to implement our carton recycling system, she said.