By James Beaty
Heaps of cardboard.
Piles of plastics.
Pounds of paper.
Gobs of glass.
Recyclable items at the McAlester Recycling Center in the parking lot at Choctaw Avenue and Main Street have grown to new heights following the recent round of holidays.
“As Americans, we generate more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year than the rest of the year combined,” said Stephanie Giacomo, executive director of Pride in McAlester.
The downtown recycling center is manned through KI BOIS Community Action, which has three job coaches and 13 clients to operate the center, Giacomo said. Still, the task can be nearly overwhelming at times, between the recylables and the cardboard baler, according to Giacomo.
Eleven volunteers showed up at the recycling center last Saturday in an effort to help make a dent in the mounds of recylables, but they were able to work for only three hours before stopping because of the rain.
“We were still not able to overcome the great response to recycling,” Giacomo said. “We worked for three hours and we weren’t able to overcome it.”
Adding to the situation is items not being properly separated before they’re dropped off for recycling.
“One thing we ran into is they’re not separating recylables into separate bags,” Giacomo said. “One way the citizens can help is to separate recyclables.”
“You can imagine opening a bag that has aluminum cans, cardboard, paper and plastics all in one bag,” she said.
All of the items to be recycled should be separated according to type and then placed in bags with similar items, Giacomo noted.
The McAlester Recycling Center accepts No. 1 plastics, such as two liter soft drink containers; No. 2 plastics, such as milk containers; paper, aluminum cans, clear glass and colored glass. Both paper cardboard and corrugated cardboard are accepted. Corrugated cardboard does not have to be bagged, but should be broken down and flattened, according to Giacomo.
While the recycling center is manned from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, recyclables can be dropped off anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The McAlester Recycling Center is a cooperative endeavor. It’s owned by the city and manned by KI BOIS, while Pride in McAlester is responsible for education, programs and other related activities.
Giacomo figures the heaps of items at the McAlester Recycling Center are tangible proof of how much local and area residents are into recycling materials.
“It shows the support the community has for recycling — and it has to grow,” she said.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.
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