NOVEMBER 15, 2013 BY 

Happy America Recycles Day!  Started by the National Recycling Coalition in 1997, ARD was adopted as an event in 2009 by Keep America Beautiful and falls annually on November 15th.

In honor of ARD, we kick off our 2013-2014 season of TV18 Recycling Tips with the mobius – that mystical Recycling symbol that has confused do-the-right-thing patrons for decades.

From single-stream to self-sorting, the mobius has been around since the Summer of Love.  The three-arrowed mobius is now synonymous with recycling.  An internationally recognized symbol, the mobius was created in 1969 to accompany the first Earth Day (April 22), created through a Chicago container company’s design contest and developed by a USC college student. (Defined by Webster, and taken from the phrase Mobius strip: a surface with one continuous side formed by joining the ends of a rectangular strip after twisting one end through 180°.)


Used throughout the globe as the “reduce-reuse-recycle” symbol, when referring to plastics, the number inside the mobius is the important item to look for.

Breaking down the 1-7 Plastics – what do those numbers mean? 


Recycling Symbols
So what if your item does not have a mobius?

This can be confusing. Some items without a mobius are recyclable and some aren’t. Soft plastics such as cereal liners, frozen vegetable and bread packaging sometimes do not have a mobius symbol and can only be recycled through the Bag2Bag program at City Market, Safeway and Wal-Mart where these soft plastic items are re-made into plastic bags.  The extra effort is daunting, less than 10% of these plastics get recycled.  See more about plastic bags in our Tip 3 on 11/17.

Some items such as your mom’s old tupperware, that do not have a mobius, are probably recyclable but will likely get trashed if they go into the stream due to protection of the stream – keeping the types of plastics separate is extremely important to the integrity of the recycled plastic and its future lives.

Recycling Champions avoid non-mobius items all together – buy cereal in bulk, buy fresh vegetables and freeze them yourself, and buy bread through local providers such as the Yampa Valley Coop or The Bakery.

Make sure to always look for the recycling symbol on your item, and take advantage of the many recycling options in Routt County.   A complete recycling guide is available here.
The rest of our tips roll out over the next 9 days… view the Recycling Tips topics here and stay tuned!