PET thermoform recycling plans moving forward

At Tuesday's Elk County Solid Waste Authority meeting, Recycling/Solid Waste Coordinator Bekki Titchner said she will be participating in a conference call this week with the PA Recycling Markets Center to continue with steps to enable PET (polyethylene terephthalate) thermoform plastic recycling through a pilot project. The center in Elk County is receiving funding through a national grant and is the only rurally located facility involved in the project. "PET thermoforms are those clamshell containers that strawberries come in, and tomatoes, and lots of other deli items. They usually have a #1 on them," Titchner said. She said the center has already inadvertently collected three Gaylord boxes of the containers because people were unaware the center did not accept these types of recyclables and had dropped them off with their other recycling. Titchner said now that the center will accept PET thermoform containers, they will make the public aware. "Education's going to be a huge component of this and they will supply all the educational materials, [it] won't cost us anything for us to start educating for this program, which is nice-- it's part of the grant," Titchner said. The center is hoping to bale the thermoform materials right along with #1 plastics to send to market. Titchner said the Recycling Markets Center needs baseline information on all of the materials that have been recycled through the Elk County Community Recycling Center last year and to date this year. We've taken almost as much already this year as we have in the entire 2011 [year]," Titchner said. "It's gotten considerably busier, which is what we need. Especially with plastics, because our plastics are clean, we're getting top-market dollar for our plastics, so we take very good care to make sure there's as little contamination as possible."I think that's going to be our moneymaker, plastics really will be, in terms of return. It just takes a lot of them." Pick up a copy of the Thursday, June 28, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.