Dicks’ Recycling Tips

What are some things I might not know I can recycle?

  • Any light bulbs containing mercury (look for Hg, the symbol for mercury, on the base of bulbs)
  • Scrap metal of any kind (steel, aluminum, copper, rusty…) e.g. fencing, grills, deck chairs, pots & pans, fire extinguishers…)
  • Solid plastic of any kind (does not have to have a triangle & number)
  • We sort by #1, #2, #4 and #5. We can no longer (at least for now) recycle #3, #7 and unmarked plastics.  Apparently there is an international glut of those plastics.
  • We take woven plastic bags (e.g. bird seed)
  • Books and phone books, photographs (but no negatives)
  • CDs, vinyl records, credit/membership cards
  • Car/truck/tractor batteries, rechargeable batteries, hearing aid batteries
  • Motor oil and antifreeze (you must take away the oil containers)
  • Appliances (usually have a fixed power cord)
  • Used computer ink cartridges
  • Clean used egg cartons (plastic, cardboard, 6, 12 & 18 size)
  • Latex paint if mixed with kitty litter (latex paint is trash, but not hazardous like oil-based)
  • Expired fire extinguishers
  • Hangers (metal and plastic)
  • Bagged trash @ $2 per bag (drive-through lane only)
  • See browncountyrecycles.org for special days for electronics, tires, paper shredding (also see gogreendistrict.com – Bloomington)

What can I not (currently) recycle?

  • We do not take soft, flexible plastic such as grocery bags, baggies.
  • We do not take smooth plastic bags (e.g. dog food bags)
  • We do not take alkaline batteries (A, AA, AAA, 9-volt, etc.)
  • We do not take incandescent bulbs.
  • Medical waste (e.g. used syringes) but empty pill bottles are OK
  • We do not take clothing, shoes, fabrics.
  • We do not take styrofoam (“one of the most evil things out there,” says Young).

Why does the list of items we take change now and then?
We have to be able to sell what we take in. Our list of buyers, and what they want changes.


What is Freecycle?

Freecycle is a table to the right of the exit door. Park and enter the area through the door by the exit. Donate books, puzzles, cards, usable small kitchen items, etc. Ideally, drop off items that can be recycled if not taken on a timely basis. Pick freely from items on & under the table, and the nearby egg cartons.  PLEASE do not wander on into the work area.
Do we pay you for what you bring in? Sorry, but no.


Recycle Do’s and Don’ts

  • Please bring in reasonably clean items. We cannot recycle anything with oil stains, or a lot of food residue.
  • Do not recycle paper plates, paper napkins, facial tissues, etc.

Advanced Sorting Tips

This can be a big issue. Part of our job is to sort items, but your tax dollars are better spent if you do not make it difficult.

  • If you have one grocery sack or less, no need to sort.
  • If you have many bags, please sort roughly (i.e. metal, plastic, glass, paper)
  • Metal cans: We sort magnetically, so no need to separate.
  • Plastic: We sort into #1, #2, #4, #5, and all else.
    (If you want to sort this way, thank you. No need for small quantities)
  • Glass: green and brown together, clear separately, blue for freecycle.
  • Paper: newspapers & magazines together, office paper together, books separately

Please Do Not:

  • Put nails, screws, etc. in aluminum cans.
  • Mix clear plastic with clear glass
  • Tear paper into small pieces
  • Layer paper types: newspaper, mail, newspaper, mail, etc. “lasagna” style
  • Take labels off cans or jars and then put the cans/jars in plastic sacks
  • Recycle unconstrained shredded paper (keep it in one container)
  • Shred mixed papers together (e.g. office paper and newspaper)
  • Bring in large containers of unsorted stuff and want the containers back

Other Courtesies:

  • Please DO use the drive-through lane during business hours. Turn off your engine once inside.
  • Material left in the after-hours bins must be brought in & resorted; better to come during open hours (Tuesday-Friday, 8 am to 4 pm).
  • Enter slowly when prompted. Exit cautiously. It is noisy inside; we might not hear you.
  • Clearly separate items you want us to take from items you want to keep.
  • Warn us of fragile or hidden items, and of presorted items.
  • Let us know which containers you want back (use “return” vs. “keep” or  “recycle”).
  • Please do not show up with a big load at 3:58 pm.

The recycling center is located at 176 Old State Road 46, at the corner of Greasy Creek.  Other questions? Call 812-988-0140.  You might be surprised at what else can be recycled.

Dick Young, lately a “sometimes” employee of the Brown County Recycling Center (he is retired from full time)

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