In the U.S., we recycle roughly 35% of materials that are able to be recycled. As we join arms and increase that rate to 75%, the effect will be like removing 50 million cars from U.S. roads.

Today, we are in a time of overabundance, and inadvertently have become a disposal society, as opposed to the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle society that our parents and grandparents showed us.

We in Wallowa County are pioneers and have a history of coming together to address the challenges we are collectively faced with. Reducing what we use, reusing everything we can and then recycling what is left is our opportunity and responsibility to the world we live in.

You can make 20 new cans from recycled material using the same amount of energy it takes to make 1 brand new can.

The Wallowa County commissioners, in partnership with the Wallowa County Recycling Task Force, are committed to increasing the rate of recycling in Wallowa County and have expanded and improved the recycling options we have. The Recycling Center, located at 301 Fish Hatchery Lane in Enterprise, is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The Recycling Center is partially funded through the sale of the recyclables we collect, and donations made when you drop off your materials at the center, (a donation box will soon be installed by the newly constructed information kiosk). When unrecyclable materials or trash are deposited, the price we receive for materials is reduced or eliminated. To help recycle as much as possible and to help the county be able to continue the recycling program we are asking for everyone’s help to recycle the acceptable items as much as possible.

The current materials that can be accepted at the Recycling Center are:

• No. 1 and No. 2 plastic containers that are larger than 6 ounces (the number is on the bottom of the container) with the lids removed at home. No clamshells (regardless of number on container) or any other plastic can be accepted.

• Corrugated cardboard including pizza boxes with all debris and packing materials removed.

• Brown paper bags and brown paper wrap are deposited with the corrugated cardboard.

• Paperboard boxes (cereal boxes, pasta boxes, tissue boxes, paperboard egg cartons) are deposited with the corrugated cardboard.

• Mixed paper, which includes newspapers, magazines, paperback books, colored paper, junk mail, phone books, brochures, flyers.

• White office paper (shredded and unshredded), which includes any white paper or white envelopes, including those with plastic window that would cross an office desk.

• Tin and steel cans that have been rinsed and the labels removed.

• Aluminum cans and clean aluminum foil and pie plates that have been rinsed.

• All glass bottles and jars with lids removed.

The Wallowa County Recycling Task Force is researching the best markets for our recyclables to bring the highest price, and to ensure our recyclable materials are going to the right place. In addition, volunteers have been and will continue to be a presence at the Recycling Center to help all of us expand our knowledge about what can be accepted.

The task force also is exploring options to accept additional materials to be recycled while researching grants to help our overall recycling and solid-waste programs in the county.

We need your help in bringing every recyclable item you have to the center and to encourage your friends, family and coworkers to do the same. If you are interested in volunteering, donating time or resources or have recycling questions feel free to email us at wallowacountyrecycling@gmail.com.

Thank you and I look forward to providing additional recycling insights each month.

———

Peter Ferré is a member of the Wallowa County Recycling Task Force.

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