Blog Post

Neighbor Dave Learns to Recycle: What's a Tangler?

The first Sunday in March was this past weekend. It was 60 degrees and sunny, and I noticed a rake setting in Neighbor Dave’s mulch bed. He got an early jump on spring yard work. It’s only a matter of time before he breaks out the garden hose to begin watering plants and flowers. 

Like many neighbors this time of year, it’s not uncommon to realize your old garden hose is busted, and you need a new one. Neighbor Dave knows you shouldn’t place a garden hose in the recycling, but he wanted to know why. 

Neighbor Dave’s Question: “Why can’t I place a garden hose in the recycling?”

My Answer: Shoe Laces & Bicycle Chains
Have you ever wrapped your shoe laces around your bicycle chain? What happened? I suspect your ride came to an unexpected end, and maybe you toppled over the handle bars. After that surprising and somewhat traumatizing jolt, you recovered, regained composure and focused on the task at hand – trouble-shooting: Can you untangle it? Do you need someone to help you? Should you cut the laces out?

These are the same questions Rumpke faces when a garden hose is placed in the recycling – but on a much larger scale. 

In the recycling world, a garden hose is called a “tangler,” and tanglers are bad news for recycling facilities. Other tanglers include bed sheets, clothing, cords, belts, dog leashes, rope and chains. Tanglers should never be placed in the recycling.

Tanglers wrap around hundreds of spinning discs and rotating conveyors at a recycling facility, bringing it to a screeching halt. This happened nearly 700 times at Rumpke’s Columbus recycling facility in 2016 –  despite dedicated efforts to remove tanglers before they cause problems.

So please, make your recycling count this spring season – keep garden hoses and other tanglers out of the recycling.

About the Author: Jonathan Kissell is the communications manager for Rumpke Waste & Recycling

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