April is Earth Day Month. We have room for improvement on many fronts, including recycling practices.

It appears that our quick and easy single stream recycling will likely disappear in the near future. China no longer wants our contaminated recyclables. One major St. Louis center has closed. Too many of us are careless about what we put into the recycling bins. Some haulers are saying that a quarter of the recycling loads have to be discarded with refuse due to contamination.

One of our greatest sins is including plastic bags and plastic film of any kind in the recycling bins. That is a big NO. Plastic bags, while recyclable, are NOT recyclable in the single stream sorting process. This includes trash bags into which we may have dumped our recyclables! In addition, the bags can jam sorting equipment.

Plastic bags should go only to the recycling depositories at our local supermarkets.

A couple of months ago, a representative for Waste Connections told the city of Des Peres that the hauler planned to begin photographing and putting stickers on offending bins and then removing the bin if contamination continues.

“It’s not the pizza box with some pizza that’s the problem,” said Linda Jones of Waste Connections. “It’s the pillows, the sheets and the yard waste.”

Some of the other items that need to be kept out of single stream recycling include:

• ceramics • hard cover books • hazardous waste • Kraft orange & brown envelopes and Tyvek envelopes • light bulbs • mirrors • microwave trays • paper “to-go” containers, including coffee & drink cups • plastic bags, 6-pack holders, plastic tops • scrap metal • shredded paper (unless bagged in paper) • stickers or sheets of address labels • Styrofoam • tissues, paper towels, napkins • toys • waxed paper and waxed cardboard • window glass.

Check your waste hauler’s list for more details.

There are still a couple of area centers to where we can take sorted recyclables: The Francis Scheidegger Recycling Depository is at 350 S. Taylor in Kirkwood. The City of Shrewsbury Recycling Center is at 7309 Melbourne. (Both of these are listed as accepting old cell phones) Republic Services operates a center at 4076 Bayless Ave., 63125.

Sunset Hills Recycling Event

Sunset Hills is having an Earth Day and electronic recycling event this Saturday, April 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There are fees for disposal of monitors and televisions.

A number of Earth Day activities will be a part of this event. Persons dropping off should enter Watson Trail Park near the police station at 12450 West Watson Road.

Stop by, drop off and stay to celebrate Earth Day.