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Why ‘Tanglers’ Don’t Belong in Your Recycling Bin


Many people try to recycle items that cannot be recycled or processed by the equipment we use at our recycling facility.

Some common materials are what we call “tanglers.”

Tanglers are non-recyclable items that get wrapped around the rolling screens which are used to help separate recyclables during the recycling process.

Penn Waste team members do try to remove as many of the tanglers as possible, but some still make it through.

Some examples of tanglers are – Plastic Shopping Bags, Garbage Bags, Hoses, Clothing, Rope, Christmas lights, plastic and metal strapping, towels, electrical cords, and VHS tapes.

Meet Moises.

Moises is 1 of 10 Penn Waste team members who must climb into the machinery and cut off the tanglers.

It takes at least 1 hour to remove the tanglers from each of the 4 screens and this required maintenance happens 4 times per day.

The machinery must be shut down during this time which wastes time and money. In addition, climbing into the equipment puts our employees in harm’s way.

The good new is, you can help!

Please do not bag your recyclables. Also, do not place plastic bags, plastic packaging, or other non-recyclable items in your curbside recycling bin.

There’s a list of acceptable items at and here’s a reminder…. The only items that should be going in your curbside recycling bin are metal cans, plastic bottles and containers with numbers 1,2 and 5 on the bottom, newspaper, glass bottles and jars, dry and flattened cardboard, and cartons.

And don’t forget…all of these items should be clean and dry before placing in your recycling bin.

Moises and the rest of the Penn Waste team appreciates your help! For more information, visit

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