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Recycling markets for number 3 through 7 plastics are difficult to find and rarely profitable. Many of these materials were sold to markets overseas until a recent shift in regulations, called Operation Green Fence, was enacted in China in response to high contamination. The value of these markets fluctuates with oil prices as well. When oil prices are low, manufacturing from recycled plastics is no less expensive than from new material. Many communities accept number 3 through 7 plastics in their recycling streams as a convenience to customers, but, when markets are scarce, the materials are often separated and sent to a landfill.
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Compostable/biodegradable plastics and paper products cannot be recycled, even if they indicate Number 1. Biodegradable/compostable plastics are often made with corn starch or vegetable oil and they cannot be recycled because the starch or oil additive compromises the qualities of recycled plastics, these types of plastics are considered a contaminant. Compostable plastics and paper goods are able to be composted in industrial scale composting plants (often found in larger cities). Teton County does not yet have the capabilities for this type of industrial composting. It is best to reduce and reuse the need for these materials at this time.
Plastic clamshell containers, like the one pictured here that often contain salad or berries, are not recyclable - even though they display the Number 1 and chasing arrows symbol. These containers are derived from Number 1 plastic resin, but during the process in which they are molded, they become brittle and less valuable.
These containers are considered a contaminant and are removed manually by staff members on the Recycling Center floor. Please throw these items into the trash, but continue to recycle Number 1 and Number 2 clean plastic bottles and jars.
View the following documents for more information:
Paperboard, such as cereal and cracker boxes and egg cartons are not accepted in the cardboard recycling bins. Paperboard is made up of short fibers and is a low value material that is nearing the end of its life-cycle. Please do not place these materials into the recycling. Recycling Center staff remove them by hand.
Corrugated cardboard (PDF), however, is a highly recyclable, valuable material. Please flatten all boxes prior to placing them in the recycling bins.
If the plastic stretches, it can be recycled at the recycling center with plastic grocery bags. View the Plastic Bags and Stretchy Plastic (PDF) for more details.
Please empty containers prior to recycling and rinse if any food residue remains. When dirty plastics come to the recycling center our staff has to pick out the dirty containers, and throw these contaminated items away. This is especially true with plastics, as contaminated loads are less valuable, and can even be rejected by buyers. With food containers such as plastic peanut butter jars and steel cans try using a spatula to get most of the gunk out. The containers don’t need to be perfect, just relatively clean.
Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling (ISWR) is very adamant about properly disposing of electronics. ISWR sends electronics to a company that is reputable and trusted (see more info below). However, if disposers have any hesitations they are encouraged to have their hard drive cleared.
Electronics are sent to Denver to a company called Electronic Recyclers International (ERI). ERI is the largest electronics recycler in North America. ERI has the highest capacity and most technologically advanced e-waste shredding system in the world, providing its customers with a maximum economic benefit and maximum commodity return. 100% of all material sent to ERI is recycled into three main commodities: metals, plastics and glass.
ERI is a member of the Basel Action Network (BAN) - an international organization that monitors the international trade of electronic wastes. ERI has signed the BAN pledge which states, “We will not engage in the exporting or dumping of e-waste, or in the use of prison labor in our recycling processes.”
This company is also E-Stewards Certified (a certification which verifies that the electronics are recycled properly).
The best option for used clothing is donation to local thrift stores and other outreach organizations. When these local options are unavailable, please utilize the bin labeled "textiles" at the Recycling Center. These materials are transported to Big Brothers and Sisters in Salt Lake City where they are distributed to thrift shops for resale.
Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling (ISWR) is currently in search of a program that will accept textiles that are used beyond the point of resale. In the meantime, it is best to contact local animal shelters about donation or to reuse your worn textiles as household rags.
Electronics such as televisions, computers, and cell phones can be delivered to the Recycling Center during business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., where they are recycled at a cost of $0.40 per pound. Businesses are asked to pay in full. Residents are asked to pay what they can afford toward the cost of disposal.
Teton County diverts approximately 34% of solid waste from the landfill through recycling, composting and reuse. The Teton County Zero Waste Resolution calls for 60% diversion by 2030. Thank you for recycling and keep up the good work!
Jackson Community Recycling (JCR) is a program of Teton County, (which is why often one will hear JCR referred to as Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling). However, JCR is an Enterprise Fund which means it is self-funded. JCR does not receive or contribute to the general fund. We can accept donations and those donations are tax-deductible. The donations that we receive go straight to recycling programs. We are not considered a non-profit and we do not have a 501c3 number.
Complete the Jackson Hole Community Recycling Membership Form to make a donation.
The symbol on a plastic product identifies the type of plastic (resin) used to make the item; which also indicates the different melting points and characteristics. The casing arrow can be very deceptive because it does not indicate whether or not an item can actually be recycled.
From Teton County, it costs over $100 per ton to landfill waste and an average of $15 per ton to recycle.
Please contact the Recycling Center 307-733-7678 for additional information on recycling fees for certain materials.
Combining recyclables into a single bin, also known as co-mingled or single stream recycling, requires additional labor and equipment to process and results in higher contamination of materials. Limiting contamination maximizes the revenue obtained from the sale of recyclables and ensures that a greater percentage of the material we collect is able to be recycled rather than land filled.
Materials that are capable of being recycled don’t vary from place to place, what varies is the recycling program and the proximity to the markets.
There are many different ways to go about collecting recyclables. Many large municipalities have Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) - the machines at these facilities automatically sort the materials where they are then bailed and then sold. See single stream recycling. This type of machinery is very expensive and requires processing a good deal of recyclables in order to be economically feasible. At this point, in Teton County there are not enough recyclables produced for this type of machinery to be justified. We bale each item one commodity at a time. Our labor costs are significantly reduced by having residents sort the materials.
There are facilities that process commodities all over the world. Teton County is very geographically isolated. Often times it is not environmentally or financially responsible to send small quantities or low value items to the various markets.
Recycle clean, residue free, pizza boxes only.