If you haven’t been out to the Polk County Recycling Center for a few weeks, you will have a big surprise waiting for you in the form of Ben Lee.

I’ve known Ben for more years than either of us will probably admit to, but I think you are going to like him.

He nearly always has a smile on his face and usually will share a joke or two if you are so inclined. He’s helpful and kind, and those are all things you will discover for yourself when you see him.

When I asked Ben if he had anything he would like me to tell you, I expected him to say something about bringing clean items to recycle or being sure you sorted aluminum from tin cans, but that is not his style.

He just grinned and said business is good.

“In fact,” he stated, referencing a joke about comments a garbage collector says, “it’s really picking up.”

While Ben doesn’t come to your home to actually pick up your items, he will be glad to see you and help you when you take yourself and your recyclables to the Polk County Recycling Center.

It is open Thursday and Friday each week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and each Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The location is just east of Mo. 32 and Rt. D in Bolivar. 

They are accepting the same items as always. The complete list follows below for your convenience.

Here’s what to load up for your next trip to the center:

    Plastic: Plastics No. 1 and No. 2 are now being taken for recycling, but do need to be put in separate bins at the center. Lids for those plastics are also accepted and may be left on the bottles. It would be helpful if you had these No. 1 and No. 2 plastics already sorted before you arrive at the center so they may be easily placed in their appropriate bin.

    Aluminum: Aluminum cans need to be separated from other aluminum products such as foil, pie tins, etc. Having them already sorted will help as the beverage cans will go in a different bin than the other foil items.

    Tin cans: These are accepted, and you will be glad to know that you do not have to remove the labels if you would prefer not to.

    Glass: Glass recycling is easy, as you do not need to separate it by color.

    Cardboard: Your cardboard items do need to be flattened, but you don’t have to remove the staples. Cardboard cereal boxes and other clean boxes are fine.

    Paper: Office paper, newspapers and magazines are accepted in the same bin.

    Books: Hardcover books can be bagged together, or the hardcovers may be taken off and put into the cardboard bin and the pages may be added to the paper bin.

Other items that you wouldn’t necessarily think about being recycled are accepted. You may bring lawn mowers and small engines that have had their fluids drained, Christmas lights, wiring and/or electrical cords, automotive batteries, metal appliances including refrigerators, washers and dryers, freezers and metal shelving. All appliances need fluids drained prior to bringing them to the center. Freezers and refrigerators also need refrigerant pumped off ahead of time. VCRs are also accepted.

With area schools preparing to go back in session later this month, don’t forget you’re never too old to learn. 

I am still learning how to become a better bag lady and take bags back to reuse. 

Learning what and how to recycle is another good thing to learn about.

The less we contribute to landfills, the better it will be for future generations.

Good luck to Ben as he does his part to keep recycling available for us at the Polk County Recycling Center and to the Polk County commissioners for not giving up on recycling. Your efforts are appreciated.

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