City still accepts plastic recycling

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The centralized recycling site in downtown Whitefish continues to accept plastic for recycling despite the discontinuation earlier this year of such recycling elsewhere in Flathead County.

The city of Whitefish site is located at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Railway Street. The city contracts with North Valley Refuse to haul the recyclable materials.

City Public Works Director Craig Workman said the city contract with North Valley Refuse runs through 2021.

“There’s a clause in the contract for them to take plastics, but if there is no longer a market for plastics they could renegotiate that contract,” he said.

Workman noted that other vendors in the county, who were previously accepting plastics for recycling, were forced to stop because they didn’t have existing contracts. The change also prompted the city to delay discussions about creating a curbside recycling program, Workman noted.

Flathead County in February this year had to discontinue recycling of No. 1 and 2 plastic and tin cans at its green-box sites and the county landfill.

The ending of the recycling was in response to tighter restrictions by China, where the majority of America’s recyclable have been sent in recent years. Contamination of the recycled materials was a key reason for China’s curtailment of importing recyclables, County Public Works Director Dave Prunty told the Daily Inter Lake in January.

The city of Whitefish recycling site accepts No. 1 and 2 plastics, tin cans, in addition to aluminum cans, mixed paper and cardboard. Items must be separated.

The Waste Not Project, which is a collaborative project that includes the Flathead Valley Community College Service Learning Program, the Flathead County Solid Waste District and Citizens For A Better Flathead, provides information about recycling in the Flathead Valley. For more information, visit www.wastenotproject.org.

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