Answer: This is a challenging question to answer as every municipality accepts different materials for recycling. If you live in unincorporated Porter County and contract with a waste hauler then you will need to contact your waste hauler to determine the details of your recycling pick up service.
If you live within the city limits of a municipality in Porter County, you can contact your street or public works departments for more information regarding the specifics of their recycling programs.
The District provides a comprehensive chart to better inform Porter County residents on what they can recycle in their communities.
Keep in mind, the District has placed drop off recycling boxes in various communities throughout Porter County and materials accepted there do not necessarily coincide with what that municipality collects. For more information on the Recycling & Waste Reduction District's drop-off recycling boxes, check out our drop-off recycling page
Answer: It may likely be that the material recovery facility that accepts their materials for sorting and marketing does not accept plastics #3 through #7. The value of recyclable materials, like all commodities, is driven by the market or “supply and demand.” There is more likely to be a continual demand for plastic containers labeled #1 (Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)) and #2 (High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) ) than for the other plastics labeled #3 through #7 which includes PVC material and Styrofoam. However, most recycling service providers in Porter County accept all plastic containers #1 through #7.
Answer: HHW stands for Household Hazardous Waste and is defined as something in your home that could be dangerous that you no longer want. HHW is usually some type of chemical that may be toxic (poisonous), corrosive (can eat through skin or material), reactive (can cause a fire or a harmful gas to be produced if mixed with oxygen or another chemical) or an irritant (can cause soreness or swelling of your skin, eyes or internal organs). Examples include oil based paint, pesticides, antifreeze, bleach, etc. HHW should never be thrown away in the trash because it can contaminate the environment. Instead, take materials to the Recycling & Waste Reduction Districts HHW collections held throughout the course of the year.
Answer: A quick overview of drop-off recycling sites on the Porter County map shows that most residents can find a drop-off recycling container within 7 to 8 miles or less from their homes. The District places drop-off recycling containers at sites that are highly visible and usually in an area adjacent to local commerce. This is done for two reasons:
Additionally, the District budget currently will not allow for any more sites.
Answer: In February of 2005, an ordinance was put into effect that requires all waste haulers serving unincorporated areas to provide recycling services to all residents receiving waste hauling services. If you are a resident living in the unincorporated areas of Porter County and are not receiving recycling services, contact your waste hauler today to receive your recycle bin and get the program started. The act of recycling is not mandatory, but we hope that residents can see the value in recycling as it ultimately leads to a healthier existence for all.
Answer: This concept is known as “Pay-As-You-Throw” and works hand-in-hand with recycling. Pay-As-You-Throw programs are based on the same billing system as other utilities, that is, pay for what you use. While the District wholeheartedly supports PAYT programs, they are usually only available in communities that contract or provide curbside waste collection and not necessarily available to subscription service customers. However, some waste haulers do provide a reduced rate for placing out only one can of trash per week. You can start the ball rolling for your community by contacting your city or town council and ask if they have considered PAYT in your area.
Answer: It is important to recycle electronics as they contain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium that can be hazardous to health should they end up in our water stream or enter the environment in other forms. Porter County residents can recycle their electronics at the Valparaiso compost site during the spring, fall and summer seasons (check hours here). Portage also accepts electronics at the curb and at the street department on Hamstrom Rd.
Answer: A landfill is a system of trash and garbage disposal in which the waste is buried between layers of earth to build up low-lying land. Here in Porter County we do not have a landfill. When your trash is picked up it is taken to a transfer station, a site where trash is collected and reloaded into trucks for transport to a landfill. Forty-nine percent of Porter County’s trash is sent to landfills in Indiana, 47 percent is sent out of state, and only 4 percent is being recycled. Often the District's compost sites are mistakenly referred to as dumps; however, these are facilities which accept yard waste (such as leaves, brush, limbs, and small logs) to be composted.
Answer: Some companies do utilize the same vehicles to pick up recycling as they do to pick up trash but do so on separate runs of collection. If a resident ever sees a company tossing trash in the same vehicle as recycling, the District should be notified. The reason for utilizing the same vehicle on different runs is to streamline costs to ultimately keep costs down for the customer. The District does periodic spot checks to confirm the companies are recycling properly.
Answer: This is called co-mingle collection, a process that is utilized across the country and deemed beneficial. Waste haulers or street departments are finding that if they streamline the collection process, the materials can easily be sorted at the material recovery facility (MRF); thus saving time and money while still turning out a good product.