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Good job recycling! Now, refine it a bit

Lexington's recycling program is facing an unusual problem caused by people who want to recycle too much.

Some people figure that if you can recycle steel cans, then wire clothes hangers and old Chevy tailpipes are fine, too. If plastic bottles can go in the Rosie, folks figure that a plastic toy can be piled on top of it.

But those kinds of things were never accepted by the city. And with the new, more sophisticated recycling equipment that went on line in June, they're causing a real problem.

"It literally gets caught in our machinery and can shut the process down," said Mark York, a spokesman for the city's Division of Environmental Quality.

The equipment allowed residents to start mixing glass and other recyclables into one cart in early June, and it greatly increased the volume of material that can move through and be sorted.

But that advantage is threatened by something like a wire coat hanger, which not only gets wrapped up in the equipment but can cause sparks and start a fire.

The amount of "wrong" things showing up in Rosies shows that people are interested in recycling, York said. But they need to recycle the right types of items when it comes to city pick-up.

As the recycling chart shows, some things can be recycled in other ways. Other things just need to go to a landfill.

You may clip the chart and put it on your refrigerator or wall as a handy guide. But if you decide not to keep it, it is printed on paper that is easily recycled.

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