Reviewing recycling rules with Island Rubbish team
When people talk trash in Jamestown, nobody does it better or knows more than Steve Tiexiera, president of Island Rubbish Service, Inc., Conanicut and Aquidneck Islands' family owned and operated trash disposal company. He's been talking trash since his father bought the business in 1969. Now, along with his brother and sister, Steve is responsible for running the Maximum Recycling Program and for the environmentally safe disposal of rubbish and garbage throughout the island.
"For the most part, people are fairly conscientious about recycling," Tiexiera said. "Some who have been recycling for a long time even go to the trouble of following the old rules, like removing labels from cans. They don't have to do that any more. They even run their cans and bottles through the dishwasher to make sure they're clean. That also isn't necessary. All they need to do is rinse out bottles and cans, and remove the tops from the bottles. It's that easy. We're happy to pick up clean recyclables, but there's no reason to go to all that trouble. We try to make it simple," he added.
When asked about the items that people consistently try to recycle that they shouldn't, he laughed. "That's easy - pizza boxes, and soda and beer boxes, those are the biggies," he said. "They don't want the pizza boxes because of the grease. Although the cardboard is corrugated, greasy pizza boxes can't be recycled. And the recycling companies don't want frozen food boxes, soda or beer boxes, or boxes with foil or plastic coatings. We're just the collectors, and we constantly have to separate these items and put them where they belong. Our job would be a lot easier if we didn't have to do that."
Tiexiera went on to say that some customers also put bottles and glass in plastic bags, or wrap them in newspaper bags. "This is not acceptable to the recyclers," he said. "We are the ones that end up removing the plastic bags.
"One of the other big categories is plastics. People don't understand how the disposal of plastics works. Any plastic container that doesn't have a triangle
with a number on it isn't acceptable. And the only numbers that are acceptable are 1 and 2. So if you see numbers 3 through 7 in the little triangle on the bottom of a plastic container, don't put it in recycling. And if the triangle isn't displayed somewhere, definitely don't try to recycle it. That includes yogurt, margarine, and ice cream containers. Other than that, people are pretty good.
"The only other complaint I have is that I wish people would be a little more patient when they see us picking up recycling containers and emptying garbage cans," Tiexiera continued. "I know we have big trucks and sometimes we block the road for a minute or two, but it can't be helped. People try to drive around us when they can't see that our men are walking around the trucks carrying heavy containers. We dodge cars every day just trying to do our job. We shouldn't have to do that. The job is dangerous enough without having to worry about somebody running over us. People are in a hurry to get to work so they honk their horns, make obscene gestures, and yell and curse at us, and it doesn't do any good. We can't make the streets wider, or move faster because someone got up late. It's just impolite and inconsiderate," he said.
The Maximum Recycling Program is easy. Bottles, cans and cartons go in the blue bin. Papers, thin cardboard, and bagged textiles go in the green bin. Newspapers are bundled and big items are set out loose. Put recycling bins out for pickup on the designated morning, every week. For questions about scheduling or rules, call the town offices at 4237220, or Island Rubbish at 4231802. Literature explaining all the details of recycling and trash removal is available for the taking in the Town Hall lobby at 93 Narragansett Ave.