Perhaps unknown to many, there are seven unique types of plastics—each with a specific environmental impact if disposed of incorrectly.
Plastics with lower numbers pose less of a threat than those with a higher one. Nos. 3 thru 7 release harmful toxins into the air if burned or not recycled professionally.
Plastics numbered with a 1, regularly found in water bottles and peanut butter containers, are easily taken care of through curbside recycling programs.
No. 3 plastic, more commonly known as PVC, can be found in a range of materials from shampoo bottles to house siding and is rarely recycled curbside due to the potential for the release of toxins.
The Daniel P. Thomas Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Yonkers handles approximately 90 percent of the residentially collected plastics in Westchester County.
The recently revamped facility now, under the Westchester County Source Separation Law, has the ability to recycle all plastics numbered 1 through 7 after previously only being able to handle types 1 and 2.
The Charles Point Resource Recovery Facility in Peekskill, Brockway Place Transfer Station in White Plains and the South Columbus Avenue Station in Mount Vernon, respectively recycle 2,250 tons, 691,497 tons and 600 to 900 tons of waste per day dropped off from towns throughout Westchester County.
In an attempt to help educate the county in the proper recycling procedures of hazardous household waste, the MRF offers free, educational tours for all ages.
There are still about a handful of items that cannot be recycled such as plastic bags, building materials, or containers that have contained hazardous materials in them.
In Rockland County, the Household Hazardous Waste Faculty located in Pomona is the county's designated drop-off faculty, which accepts hazardous household materials from Rockland residents and small businesses that qualify for CESQG status.
CESQG status, or Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator status, can be achieved by meeting two conditions: the household or business must generate less than 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste per month and never store more than that; the second qualification is not generating more than 220 pounds of characteristic hazardous waste and never storing more than 2,200 pounds.
Here is a list of community and county Web sites with recycling information.
To find your community’s designated household material recycling day, call Westchester Community’s Recycling Help Line at 914-813-5245 or visit http://environment.westchestergov.com/recycling-events.
To determine your designated recycling plant, visit:
For tours and more recycling information, visit: http://environment.westchestergov.com/recycling.
For Rockland County's recycling schedule and to find out if you qualify for CESQG visit: http://www.rocklandrecycles.com/
For more information on plastic coding visit: http://www.plasticfreebottles.com/pdf/Understanding-Plastic-Codes.pdf.
For a list of Earth Day-related activities and events, go here.
For other Earth Day 2012 articles and postings, go here.