LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. -- In recent days, many viewers have reached out to Newswatch 16 with questions about what can and cannot be recycled. The people who run Lackawanna County's recycling program say the best way is to go back to the basics.
"Bags are number one, we don't except bags at all. Food containers, drinking cups, stuff like that. I've seen a lot of non-acceptable recyclables coming in. A good amount," said Stephen Chorba, who supervises the recycling center on Boulevard Avenue in Scranton.
The last few days have been challenging for his team - finding many recyclable items in trucks brought to the warehouse.
Matthew Sacco is a lineman at the warehouse - he helps to separate the garbage from the recycling. Sacco said he's found some pretty interesting things in the recycling pile.
"I've pulled full kitchen sinks, I've pulled little kid's car toys, plastic Playskool sets, like the whole thing. I've pulled a lot of crazy stuff out of here that's not recyclable," said Sacco.
So why are all these contaminants showing up in the recycling loads brought to the center?
"Not all things can be recycled. I think people want to do the right thing, I think the majority of folks are into the idea of not throwing things away," said Barbara Giovagnoli.
Giovagnoli is the recycling coordinator for Lackawanna County - she says it's important for residents to know where your municipality or collector takes its recycling. If your municipality brings its recycling to the Lackawanna recycling center, it's a dual-stream system.
"Dual stream - two streams. All of the containers - bottles, jars, and cans in one. And the paper fibers - separately," says Giovagnoli
At the beginning of the week, the recycling center had to reject four Scranton recycling trucks. But now by the end of the week, they say this pile is getting a lot cleaner, and it makes it a lot easier for them to do their job.
"It's gotten a lot better, each day since we've been cracking down - and we plan on it and hope for it to stay that way," said Chorba.
The recycling center accepts plastic and glass bottles and jars, aluminum and steel cans, as well as newspaper.
they do not accept plastic bags, take-out containers, or pizza boxes. Giovagnoli told Newswatch 16 there is an easy way to remind yourself what can and cannot be recycled at the Lackawanna County Recycling Center.
"What I say to folks is this - ask yourself - is it a bottle? Is it a jar? If the answer is no, that means it has to be thrown away."
Get more information from the Lackawanna County Recycling Center here.