Frequently Asked Questions
We've done our best here to answer some questions we get a lot. Hope it helps!
What can I expect from my first visit to RSI?
When you first arrive, park outside the gate. As you enter, the traffic director or a volunteer will ask you for your $10 drop-off fee that helps us cover shipping, maintenance and employee cost. Go inside and pick up a cart if you have a lot of materials to bring in. Gather your items from your car and head back inside. Say hi to people! Don't be afraid to ask questions to workers, volunteers and fellow recyclers if you aren't sure where things go. Signs mark where a lot of materials go, but don't just drop things off if you aren't sure. We are there to help. Plastics, cardboard and metals are under the roof. Tin cans, glass, paper, trash and electronics are out in the open. Say hi to Mr. Peabody, our resident peacock.
Visit our book trailer and check with the traffic director on a price if you find a treasure. Give an extra donation if you are so inclined. And finally, be assured that you are part of something very unique, and that your efforts are helping the environment and helping to build a strong community of recyclers!
Who is the new GM of Recycling Services?
Since RSI founder, Jim Crater's medical leave began recently, Jim's son Jesse has stepped up as General Manager of Recycling Services. Jim has run the place for 44 years and recently has required some down time to rest and recoup. Jim is still President of RSI, but Jesse has taken on a lot of the day to day upkeep. Jesse relies on the help of workers, volunteers and board members to help support him. If you're interested in working for RSI or volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What items do you collect and what don't you collect?
See our Services page for a full list of items we collect and items we don't.
So many places aren't taking large electronics for recycling anymore. Do you take TVs/computer monitors?
We get this question more than any other. The answer is yes, we are now taking large and small electronics. Drop off cost is $10 per cubic foot due to shipping costs. Our traffic director can help you determine a price. This is in addition to the $10 per car gate fee IF you have other recycling to drop off. If you are ONLY dropping off a tv or monitor, you need not pay the gate fee, only the electronics drop-off fee.
Interested in learning more about why it is getting harder to recycle electronics? Read this article from The Morning Call (Thanks to volunteer, Joe Matisko for sharing with us). Not many places will take them anymore. This article explains some of the complications with recycling electronics and will help explain the reason behind the cost.
Usually screwtops are PP, #5 & most plastic milk bottles are #2 HDPE. They need to be kept separate here. We currently are not accepting screwtop caps until we are able to purchase a new grinder for this material.
What should I do with glossy 25lb dog and cat food bags?
Many people use these as trash bags, but the liners can be torn out and bags sent with cardboard. You might look into other brands or perhaps a bulk food store that will fill your own containers.
A lot of the plastic food containers I buy for food in have stick-on labels. Some I can peel off but others are impossible. Is it okay to recycle these tubs with the labels still on?
Most everyone that handles post consumer is dealing with markets that can handle labels, not a big deal.
How do I go about recycling paint cans (some with paint still inside)?
We can accept paint cans if the paint is dried out and in steel cans.
I know there is program in Seattle (that collects used paint cans), but we tried a used used paint program 10 + years ago and got a bunch but never had any leave. I did put an ad in Lancaster Farming and got rid of it all to reuse.
If you have questions about materials we don't accept, check earth911.com. Enter your zip code and they tell you if there is a place near you that accepts that particular item.
Can you explain the basic recycling process at RSI?
Processing here really begins with the public sorting of materials into the various areas. Next it's checked again by the processing help. Many materials get baled to increase weight in loads, but we also do crushing of the glass or granulation of some plastics to prepare the material for the next step in manufacturing. The plants all vary in how it's handled, for example the cardboard mill will unload bales from the trailer, place it on a conveyor, clip the wires, then send it through a pulper, where metal is removed, and new pulp is formed through a screening, rolling & heat process to make new cardboard.
Do you feel recycling benefits our environment? If so, how?
It takes a lot less energy to make new products from old than from new. A good example of this is in the glass industry... The materials in glass are sand, soda ash & lime, all very plentiful & inexpensive, but recycled glass takes much less heat to melt, meaning the furnaces last longer... all cost savings to a manufacturer. My issue has always been saving resources, that's why I stress durability; if something lasts longer, it's much better than grinding it up & making it into something new. The purest form of recycling is reuse, not remanufacturing. Anyway, I never fell into the throw-away trap, as resources must be respected and valued, in spite of market conditions.