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How to Recycle Tanglers

Hanna Greer-Brown Hanna Greer-Brown How to Recycle TanglersPhoto provided by SWACO
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Franklin County sends over a million tons of material to the landfill each year. With nearly 70% of these materials having the potential to be recycled and composted before being landfilled, it’s important to understand what can and cannot be recycled so that recyclable materials reach their full potential as a new product. When sorting through recyclables at home, make sure that “tanglers” never make their way into your curbside or drop-off recycling bins.

Tanglers include items such as plastic bags, film plastics, electronic cords, clothes hangers and even Christmas or Halloween lights. These items are not accepted in Franklin County’s curbside recycling program because they “tangle” in equipment and delay the recycling process. 

When items are collected from your curbside recycling bins or a drop-off location, they are sent to a material recovery facility (MRF, pronounced ‘murf’), where materials are then sorted and compressed into bales before being given a new life. During the sorting stage, tanglers can get stuck in equipment and may require the equipment to be turned off so that the items can be removed. This can put recycling workers at risk, lead to equipment failures and require costly repairs.

While tanglers are not accepted in the curbside recycling program, there are correct ways to recycle these materials.

Plastic grocery bags, plastic retail bags and other types of household plastic bags can be recycled at a large number of locations in Franklin County. Most grocery and retail stores provide containers for recycling these materials. Plastic bags can also be reused at home. If you decide to store recyclables in a plastic bag, it’s important to make sure to empty the contents of the bag into the recycling bin so that materials are loose and the bag can be reused again in the future. Paper bags are also a great alternative to plastic bags since they are accepted in the curbside program.

Electronic waste, which is defined as any appliance with a cord, can be recycled at an e-waste center. If items are still in working condition, consider donating them to a local charitable organization for reuse.

Most dry cleaners will accept returned clothes hangers and metal chains can be taken to the scrap yard or a metal recycler.

Recycling right is easy when you avoid putting tanglers in the curbside or drop-off recycling containers. For information on how to correctly recycle tanglers, visit  www.RecycleRight.org and try our easy-to-use Recycle & Reuse Search Tool today.

Recycle Right is brought to you by SWACO, Franklin County’s resource for solid waste diversion and disposal. SWACO seeks to reduce the community’s reliance on the landfill as well as meet state mandated diversion goals by providing waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs and services to residents and businesses in 41 central Ohio communities, totaling more than a million people. Last year, Franklin County reached its highest rate of diversion on record – 49%. In addition to diversion programming, SWACO is the only Solid Waste District in Ohio to own and operate a landfill and which provides the organization with a holistic and unique perspective on the local waste stream.

For more information, visit swaco.org.

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