Town urges residents to ‘recycle the container, not the contents’

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Do you recycle? If so, are you sure you’re doing it correctly?

Recycling is a wonderful practice for protecting our environment and being a good steward of our resources, but like any other such practice, there are rules to follow in order to keep the process safe.

Recently, the Collierville Public Services Department received reports from the Town’s contracted recycling processor that needles, and other “sharps” have been found in plastic containers placed in residents’ recycling bins. This creates unsafe working conditions for the employees of the processing center.

“Just because there is a recycle symbol on a diaper box does not mean the diapers inside the box are recyclable,” said Amber Greene, Chester County recycling coordinator. “It is very dangerous for our employees; and some jugs have open needles that poke through the plastic.”

Please empty all the plastic containers you put in your recycling bin and dispose of needles and sharps in the following way:

• Get an FDA approved sharps container (available at the Shelby County Health Department).

• Fill ¾ full of used needles and sharps.

• Permanently close the container according to the provided instructions.

• Turn it in at room 258 in the Central Laboratory at 814 Jefferson Avenue in Memphis between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm.

If you’re unable to get to the Central Laboratory, you can substitute an empty plastic laundry detergent jug for the official sharps container and dispose of the container with your regular household trash.

Again, it’s important that the container be heavy duty plastic so that the needles and sharps won’t puncture the surface and potentially harm anyone handling the garbage. Thin plastic such as is used in milk containers, water bottles and clear plastic storage containers is not appropriate, and neither are glass containers or soda cans. Secure the lid with duct tape and label DO NOT RECYCLE.

Never leave containers holding used needles and sharps in your curbside recycling bin and never dispose of used sharps loose in your household garbage.