Sedona Recycles Q & A

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The following are answers to commonly asked questions at Sedona Recycles.


A local nonprofit and the Forest Service visitor’s center are now collecting household batteries for free; why does Sedona Recycles charge $1 per pound?

The company collecting the household batteries at these drop-off locations is able to recycle a small amount of batteries through the City of Flagstaff. The key word here is small. In 2014, Sedona Recycles delivered 5,079 pounds of batteries to Battery Solutions in Mesa for recycling. The cost to our nonprofit is, on average, $1 per pound, thus the charge to the person dropping them off. This cost does not include the staff time for taping terminals, boxing batteries by type, and loading 50 gallon steel drums for shipping, or the freight expenses for delivery. We do not consider 2 ½ tons of batteries a small amount.


One of the local trash haulers collects recycling and garbage in one can and says they recycle everything out of the trash. Is this possible?

No, this is not possible. The estimated recovery rate using this system is between 10 and 30 percent. Of the materials that are recovered, many of them are contaminated. This is especially true of the cardboard and paper, which have been commingled with liquids, food, paint, pet waste, and glass, to name a few that render the materials of lower quality or not able to be recycled at all. The plastics are all baled together and sent somewhere else to be sorted, so recovery numbers are not available and, as a result, it is unknown what happens to these materials.


What can we do with paint and household chemicals?

If you live in Coconino County, you can deliver these materials at no charge to the Household Hazardous Products Collection Center located at the Cinder Lake Landfill in Flagstaff. Yavapai County currently has no outlet for these materials and there are no upcoming collection days on the horizon. Visit our website for possible alternative solutions.


Don’t you make a lot of money from the sale of the recyclables you collect?

This is a common misconception and can be explained in this way. The cost of collecting and processing recyclables and the sale of those materials is, at best, a break even. So it doesn’t matter if we collect 1 ton or 1,000 tons; it will always, if prices remain stable, be a break even. For this reason, we encourage everyone using the services provided by our nonprofit to become a member or consider making a donation to help cover the expense of all the other services and programs we provide.


Do you take plastic bags?

Sedona Recycles does not take plastic bags. That doesn’t mean we don’t get plastic bags; our trash dumpsters are filled with them. This is particularly problematic because, once bags have been used to carry items to our facility, they are contaminated and mixed in with all the other recyclables making them difficult to recover and impossible to recycle. This missed opportunity is especially troubling because these same bags, when clean and taken back to the local grocery stores for recycling, are used to manufacture composite decking material. Because the bags we receive are not clean, they are thrown out and account for the majority of our garbage expenses.


Do you take milk and other cartons?

We have tried for years to include this material in the list of items we can recycle. This is a particularly difficult material to recycle because it consists of multiple layers. These include paper and plastic, and, in some cases, aluminum. Although manufacturers of this material would like you to believe they are recyclable and are spending millions to convince you they are, the machinery needed to do the separation on these materials is not readily available.


Can you take foam take out containers and meat trays?

Although we are lucky enough to be able to take block foam, we cannot take meat trays and take out containers. These materials require a different machine than we have. We encourage everyone to avoid this packaging as it is not something that can be recycled in our area and there are much better alternatives.


Please take advantage of the information contained in our A-Z Reuse and Disposal Guide on our website or give us a call at 204-1185 with any recycling questions you have. We are an educational nonprofit and take pride in providing the best recycling and educational programs for our community.


by Jill McCutcheon, Sedona Recycles

Sedona Red Rock News

February 18, 2015