Garbage or recycling? Recycle 906 shares what happens when the wrong item goes in the wrong bin

It’s not all automatic...
For reminders about recycling, visit
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 2:09 PM EDT
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SANDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Recycling is the first step to keeping garbage out of landfills, but improperly recycling your materials has a negative impact on the facility and its staff.

Putting the wrong items in a recycling bin can be an honest mistake... but it’s not always a harmless one.

“There’s a potential hazard and really putting employees in harm’s way... that’s the first thing.” says Director of Operations Brad Austin.

Austin adds that if an item isn’t recyclable and ends up in the collection, staff must manually remove the trash from the pile.

Items that are commonly picked up, but not processed by the facility, include plastic bags, cellophane wrap, and flexible food packaging.

“Commodity quality- if we have materials that we can’t market but still have to process, there’s a cost to that.

Other items that are commonly put curbside for recycling - and shouldn’t be - are batteries, ammunition, needles, and medical waste.

These have the potential to injure employees...

“Lithium ion battery fires is a major concern in the industry.” explains Austin. “There’s been hundreds of fires at recycling facilities across the country.”

About 10-15 percent of collected items at Recycle 906 end up as waste.

You can reduce that number by reviewing your municipality recycling guidelines.

For more information about recycling in your area visit

The director of operations at Recycle 906 explains how the wrong items can pose a threat to the employees.

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