Residents should keep recycling in mind during weekend celebrations

Events such as cookouts, family reunions, and graduation parties make Memorial Day weekend a time of revelry for many area residents.While recycling is not likely at the forefront of most people's minds during this time, individuals still should be cognizant some of the materials that can be recycled following their holiday gatherings."Not only should people think about what they can recycle, they should also consider what they can re-use to reduce what goes into the trash at the end of the day," said Bekki Titchner, Elk County recycling and solid waste coordinator.In particular, Titchner suggested that people consider using plastic plates and cups "rather than the throw-away variety." "These days there are plenty of options available for purchase (of these plastic items) in local stores. Even heavy plastic cutlery can be washed and used numerous times, and to make cleanup easier, bring along a plastic tote where everything can be stored for the trip home," Titchner said. She noted that for those planning to use disposable plates and cups, paper is a better choice than foam. "If you are going to use disposable items, opt for paper rather than foam. Foam simply does not degrade. The cups and plates that you throw away over the weekend will be around for a very long time," Titchner said. Those who do opt for using plastic cups then have the option of recycling them at the Elk County Community Recycling Center, which is located at the Stackpole Complex in St. Marys. "Good news in the realm of plastic recycling is that any plastic cups that are made of either PET plastic (number one) or polypropylene (PP or number five) can be recycled at the community recycling center," Titchner said. "We are poised to begin collecting PET thermoform plastic as part of a national pilot project. Plastic cups made of PET are considered a thermoform, as are a host of other containers, including clamshell containers for fruits and vegetables, as well as cakes, cookies and other produce and deli items. While this program hasn't officially kicked off, we are accepting PET thermoforms at the center."This means that many plastic containers from graduation cakes, fruit or vegetable trays, and sandwich platters may now be recycled instead of simply thrown in the trash. Pick up a copy of the Saturday, May 26, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.