- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 28, 2005

For the homeowner or apartment dweller, a major difference between single-stream and other recycling methods is that all material is placed loose in the blue lidded cart. This includes:

• Newspapers, magazines, books, cardboard, shoe boxes, unwanted mail, pizza boxes (minus any leftover pizza), office paper, etc. Papers and cardboard need not be bundled.

• Glass bottles and jars — clear and colored — can be tossed into the cart, preferably with tops removed.

• Narrow-neck plastic bottles and jugs with the numbers 1 or 2 on the bottom are the only plastics eligible for recycling. There is less of a market for any plastics marked with the number 3 and higher, and many are considered contaminants because they have a different melting point than clear plastic items.

Lightweight plastic items such as Styrofoam and yogurt containers have no value and should be discarded. Likewise, plastic bags of any kind should be thrown out and not used to bundle items for recycling. (These ubiquitous sacks are considered the most unworthy residue of all and must be removed by hand at a central processing plant.) Discarded plastic strings of tree lights, which have been known to clog sorting machinery, should not be recycled.

• All aluminum, steel and tin cans are welcome and need not be flattened.

Note: Holiday trees and wreaths are not recyclable, say officials of the D.C. Department of Public Works’ Solid Waste Management Administration. They should be stripped of all decorations and put in a curbside tree box for collection from Jan. 3 through 14.

For more information, check the Department of Public Works’ Web site (www.dpw.dc.gov) or call the service request line at 202/727-1000.

Ann Geracimos

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