Johnson City announces new recycling guidelines for plastics


The City of Johnson City has adjusted the types of plastics it collects curbside and at drop-off sites to align with the requirements of a new recycling vendor. The change in vendors occurred in mid-March following the closure of Tri-Cities Waste Paper, which previously bought the City’s cardboard and plastic recyclables. No changes have been made to the other items collected by the City.

“The recycling market is ever-changing for a variety of reasons and right now, we’re finding that some of the plastics we were able to accept before are simply not being taken by vendors,” said Phil Pindzola, director of Public Works. “Thankfully – while other municipalities across the country have had to stop recycling plastic altogether – the way in which we collect has allowed us to make adjustments and keep the majority of the types of plastics we collect in the recycling stream.”

Residents can help ensure that items are diverted from the landfill by placing only approved items in the recycle bin and making sure the approved items have been cleaned properly and have lids and/or caps removed.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to expand our plastics collection at a later date,” Pindzola said. “Until then, we are asking our citizens to pay extra attention to the plastics they are placing in the recycle bin.

The new list of accepted plastic items is limited to milk jugs, water bottles, juice containers, soda bottles, laundry detergent containers, fabric softener containers, bleach bottles and windshield solvent bottles marked with a plastic code of “1” or “2.” All other containers, even those marked with a “1” or “2,” will not be accepted and must be placed in the trash. The new guidelines apply to both curbside and drop-off sites.

In Fiscal Year 2018, the City of Johnson City collected and recycled about 6,000 tons of material. Most of the material was cardboard (3,171 tons) and paper (1,322 tons), which are the easiest items to recycle due to market demand. The City also recycled 640 tons of glass, 309 tons of plastic and 31 tons of aluminum. The remaining tonnage came from garbage carts, scrap metal, batteries, e-waste, and oil.

“Being diligent about recycling the other items we accept – especially paper and cardboard – is a great way citizens can contribute to the recycling program,” Pindzola added. “We also encourage everyone to reduce plastic waste like straws, bags, and packaging as much as possible.”

To learn more about the City’s recycling efforts and how to prepare items for collection, visit


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