2018 Recycling Changes

Here’s how we can all recycle right

At Rogue Disposal & Recycling, we want you to have as much information as possible when it comes to the global recycling crisis – including what we can all do in our corner of the world to make a difference. Here are some clickable resources to help you learn more.

2018 Global Recycling

What to put in your red-lid recycling cart

At Rogue Disposal & Recycling, we’re dedicated to providing a curbside recycling program that is sustainable and affordable, now and into the future. Global markets for a number of items we used to accept at the curb are gone, so we are refocusing our program on materials we know CAN be recycled rather than landfilled. Here’s how you can help…

YES! These CAN go in your cart.

Corrugated Cardboard
the kind with the wavy center
Milk Jug Style Containers
clear or white, rinsed out, no lids
Newspaper and Inserts
no magazines
Tin and Aluminum Cans
rinsed out, no lids

No! If it’s not a yes, it CAN’T go

What are Recycling Contaminants?

What’s considered a “contaminant?” Recycling contamination occurs when non-recyclable materials are put into the recycling system – which can lead to an entire load of recyclables having to go to the landfill. One bad apple can – and does – spoil the whole bunch in this case. Help us ensure that your materials get recycled by keeping it simple and keeping it clean.

Food waste packaging. If the items being recycled contain food waste, oil or grease, they’re contaminated, and will all go to the landfill. That’s why pizza boxes and take-out containers are now considered contaminants.

The problem with plastic bags and wrappers. Plastic bags and their cousins — shrink wrap, bubble wrap, Ziploc bags, produce bags, trash bags and so on — are some of the worst contaminants of all. They jam the recycling machinery and create a hazard for the sorters, costing time and money — only to end up in the landfill.

Toss your lids and caps. You may have noticed that in many of our recycling educational pieces, we ask you to please remove the lids on tin cans and the caps on milk jugs (for curbside recycling), as well as the lids on glass bottles and jars (at the glass depots). Why all the fuss for such a small part of the packaging? For that very reason – because they’re so small. They’re so small and flat, in fact, that they don’t make it through the mechanical sorting process and end up as trash anyway.

Say no to frozen food boxes and milk/soup/juice cartons. These boxes and cartons may seem like they’re made from paper, but they’re not. It’s actually a combination of paper, plastics and sometimes metal, designed to hold moisture inside the carton. During the recycling process, the materials don’t break down into recyclable materials, so they contaminate everything else they’re with. These boxes are designed for food safety, not for recyclability.

Styrofoam has no home. Polystyrene — the material in Styrofoam — is 99% air. It’s cost prohibitive to collect and compact the volume needed to ship to a processor. And in the recycling bin, it’s a contaminant.

What to do with glass

Even though the use of glass for food and beverage packaging is diminishing, you will still find it throughout the grocery store. In the recycling stream, it is considered a contaminant when mixed with other materials. Broken glass in a commingled recycling bin can get embedded in other items in the cart, making it so those items can no longer be recycled. Because of this, we have taken glass off the list of things you can put in the red-lid cart at the curb.

Instead, we have a trio of options for recycling glass that will all help ensure that the glass is beneficially used (in place of mined aggregate) right here in the Rogue Valley, and not thrown away.

Glass Drop-Off Depots

Rogue Disposal & Recycling has teamed up with several area grocery stores to offer easy-to-use drop-off depots specifically for your glass bottles and jars. Recycle your glass bottles and jars in the parking lot of these local grocery stores:

Ray’s Food Place
Central Point: 126 East Pine Street
Jacksonville: 401 North 5th Street
Phoenix: 735 North Main Street

Sherm’s Food4Less
Medford: 2230 Biddle Road

Sherm’s Thunderbird
Medford: 2347 West Main Street

The glass you drop off can be any color with sizes up to one gallon. Please make sure the containers are rinsed to remove any food and liquid. Lids are not accepted, but labels are OK.

And please note that glassware (drinking and wine glasses), window glass or lightbulbs of any kind can NOT go into the recycling depots.

Transfer Station Recycle Depot

You can drop off your rinsed-out glass bottles and jars at the Transfer Station. Glass can be any color with sizes up to one gallon. Lids are not accepted, but labels are OK.

Transfer Station

8001 Table Rock Road, White City
Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 5 pm
Closed on Sunday

BottleDrop Center

Visit the BottleDrop Center and your returned glass beverage bottles (no wine bottles) are worth 10¢ each, thanks to an expanded Oregon Bottle Bill. And not just glass, you can also return aluminum beverage cans and plastic beverage bottles — each for 10¢.

And with the expanded Bottle Bill comes an expanded list of acceptable types of beverage containers. Along with soft drinks, beer and water, you can ALSO return containers for coffee and tea drinks, energy and sports drinks, fruit juice, coconut water kombucha — keeping even more cans and bottles out of the landfill!

BottleDrop Redemption Center

1179 Stowe Avenue, Medford
Seven days a week from 8 am to 6 pm

Click here for more information.

Options for different types of paper

The recycling world has changed. Most of the paper and paperboard (cereal boxes, shoes boxes, paper towel tubes) we used to take at the curb is now considered a contaminant when mixed with other materials. The processors who sort and ultimately sell the materials to mills and overseas markets have informed us that mixed, unsorted paper (a mix of paper products that includes office paper, junk mail, cereal/shoe/cracker boxes, paper towel/toilet tubes) is now banned in China — the world’s main market for this material. As of January 1st of 2018, there aren’t adequate markets in other parts of the world accepting mixed paper. So it’s stacking up all over the globe.

Newspaper at the curb, high-grade office paper at the Transfer Station

Processors are still willing to take newsprint in the commingle mix. So newspaper is now the only type of paper we accept in our curbside program.

We have also found domestic markets for clean paper streams consisting of a very limited blend of high-grade office paper, but it cannot be mixed with any other paper or materials. Since it can’t be recycled curbside, we have created an area at the Transfer Station to accept this very specific type of paper for recycling. High-grade paper includes:

  • office paper (printer/copier paper)
  • envelopes and mail

High grade paper does NOT include catalogs, magazines, cereal boxes, shoe boxes, frozen food cartons, paper towel tubes, cracker boxes or any other kind of paper.

Behind the scenes

When commingled recycling goes to a sorting facility, much of the material has to be hand-picked by workers. The material on a conveyor belt speeds past the sorters at a rate of 20 pounds of material per second. In order to sort the paper without contamination, sorting facilities have slowed the belt down and added more workers. But even then, they have been unable to meet the exceedingly stringent new contamination limits that would allow the paper to be recycled. This is the reason we cannot accept it with other materials.

The particulars on plastics

Plastics have always been a challenge to recycle, even under the best of circumstances. And just because your plastic pop bottle, yogurt cup and margarine tub have the chasing-arrow triangle on them, it doesn’t mean they can be recycled. Those markings simply denote which type of plastic the container is made of. Milk jugs and milk style jugs made from a type of plastic called High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE #2) are in demand, and are easy to identify in the commingle stream — because of their resin type and their shape.

The key to success in commingled recycling is having a mix of materials that can be easily sorted, with contaminants quickly identified and removed. So until the sorting technology improves, Rogue Disposal & Recycling has made the decision to accept only the type of plastic that can be successfully processed and marketed. For now, that’s plastic milk style jugs.

And thanks to an expansion of the Oregon Bottle Bill, you can now return even more plastic beverage containers! Everything from sports and energy drinks to fruit juice, kombucha, coffee drinks and more are now worth 10¢ when you turn them in for recycling. Water bottles too, including coconut water. When it comes to plastic beverage bottles, it pays to recycle through the BottleDrop.

BottleDrop Redemption Center

1179 Stowe Avenue, Medford
Seven days a week from 8 am to 6 pm

Click here for more information.

Tips for reducing packaging

Did you know that packaging accounts for nearly one-third of all garbage in the United States? It’s true. Things like cardboard boxes, plastics, metal and glass containers, paperboard (cereal boxes, paper towel tubes, shoes boxes) are designed to protect products and provide information for the user. Trouble is, once you take the shoes out of the box and the cereal is all gone, the packaging gets thrown away. There are some easy ways you can reduce waste and improve your packaging footprint.

  • Carry your own reusable bags when shopping
  • Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, instead of produce in cans, frozen boxes and bags
  • Use a coffee cup or travel mug instead of a disposable paper cup
  • Buy in bulk when you can — you’ll save money and reduce packaging
  • Try cloth napkins instead of paper napkins
  • Steer clear of individual snack-sized boxes or bags
  • Use glass, metal or ceramic baking pans instead of disposable aluminum pans
  • Pack lunches in a reusable bag with reusable food and beverage containers
  • Reuse the backs of printed pages for scratch paper

And pay attention when you’re in the supermarket. Can the container be cleaned out and used for something else? And when comparing two similar products, if one has less packaging, make that your selection. The choices you make can have a huge impact on the environment.

For more waste prevention tips you can enact at home, visit the Jackson County Recycling Partnership for ideas.

How to reduce mail

Every year, the average American receives 675 pieces of mail. Add it all up and it comes in at a hefty 4,000,000 tons of mostly unwanted mailbox filler. Wish there was something you could do to limit the amount you receive? There is.

To cut down on catalogs, visit catalogchoice.org and check only the catalogs you want to receive.

To receive less commercial advertising mail, visit dmachoice.org. This is the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service, which allows you to opt-out of those pesky national mailing lists.

In the meantime, you can bring your high grade paper — including mail, as well as office paper — to the Transfer Station Recycling Center.

Transfer Station

8001 Table Rock Road, White City
Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 5 pm
Closed on Sunday

If you are ever concerned about the privacy and security of your personal papers, please know that Rogue Disposal & Recycling offers confidential document destruction through our shred program. Learn more here.

By making these changes to our curbside recycling program, providing additional options at the Transfer Station and highlighting other resources in the community, our goal is to enable you to recycle as many items as possible where there are sustainable, accessible and affordable markets — both today and into the future.

We’re all in this together.

Despite the current challenges finding markets for commingled recycling materials, Rogue Disposal & Recycling remains committed to protecting the health and welfare of the residents of the Rogue Valley by providing environmentally sound solid waste management services. Here’s a short video that helps explain the current recycling crisis.


We understand that change can be difficult and this is a big change to the world of recycling. Our customer service team is happy to help in any way they can. If you have questions, you can give us a call at 541.779.4161 or use this online contact form.