Stillwater News

Bagging your recyclables? Here’s why it’s doing more harm than good.

Released:Sep 05, 2018


(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Sept. 5, 2018) – We all know that plastic bags are bad for the environment, but they are also bad for our recycling program scores, too.

An independent recycle cart audit in July found that 29 percent of the items collected in the recycle carts were unrecyclable through the City of Stillwater’s program.

This is an 8 percent increase from a February 2018 independent audit, which reported only 21 percent of the items in carts were unrecyclable.

 “Gallon-sized plastic trash bags and single-use grocery store bags appear to be the main culprit in causing this increase,” Waste Management Director Chris Knight said. “We want to remind our recyclers to refrain from putting their recyclables inside of plastic bags and to instead place recyclables in the cart unsorted or within other approved recyclable containers.”

Another common error is assuming plastic and metal hangers are recyclable through the City’s program.

“Hangers of any material are considered trash,” Knight said. “Unfortunately, anytime a plastic bag or hanger is put in a recycle cart, it counts against the City’s recycling score and potentially impacts our rates.”

Instead, residents are encouraged take hangers to these locations for reuse:

  • Duffy Dry Clean City (2203 W. 6th Ave)

  • Northside Laundry and Dry Cleaners (402 S. Main St.)

Some local grocery stores also accept the smaller single-use grocery bags, also.

“We know our customers love the recycling program and are doing their best to be good stewards of the environment,” Knight said. “If you have any questions about whether an item is accepted through our program, we are more than happy to answer your questions.”

Accepted single stream cart recyclables include paper products, cans, cardboard and rigid plastics labeled with either No. 1, 2 and 5. All accepted recyclables go into one cart — unsorted and loose (not bagged).

Glass recyclables must go in a separate city-issued tote, which is included in your waste management fee.

Residents can contact Customer Service for questions about the recycling program and options for recycle carts.

The City offers 35-, 64- and 96-gallon carts and a glass recycle tote. Monthly glass recycling is currently offered to customers inside city limits only.

You can also bring the approved recyclables listed above to the Convenience Collection Center at 807 S. Perkins Road Tuesdays through Saturdays (hours vary).

For recycling questions, contact Customer Service at 405.742.8245 or email

More information about recycling and other utility services is at


For media inquiries, contact the Office of Marketing and Public Relations at 405.742.8219 or email


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