‘Lids’ are acceptable here, for better or worse

When the city dropped off my new single-stream recycling bin, it was kind enough to include poster showing “Acceptable Recyclables.” In addition to a list, the poster uses photos to illustrate the point, including photos of plastic bottles and containers – some with lids and some without. Yet on the back of the poster, it says “no lids.” I’m confused. What’s “acceptable?” – Terry

Just about everything in Durango is acceptable.

Except smoking cigarettes on the Animas River Trail or applying horticultural chemicals to control weeds in parks. Those are, apparently, bad.

Smoking “wellness hemp” and spending a hundred grand to spray a kelp juice-molasses cocktail on public lawns? These are, apparently, good.

No wonder why people are befuddled around here. And so it goes with lids.

Mrs. Action Line, a thoughtful and reasonable conservationist, thumb-tacked the city’s “Acceptable Recyclables” poster on the household bulletin board for handy eco-reference.

Sure enough, there they were in living color: photos of juice cartons, beverage containers and a jug of laundry detergent – all with lids on.

But on the back of the poster, there is a list of “Recycling Contaminants.” At first glance, Action Line thought it was Recycling “Commandments” because there were 10 of them.

Number 6 reads: “No Caps or Lids on Containers. Please remove all caps and lids from containers before recycling.”

OK. But if you remove the lid, are you supposed to put it in the bin or chuck it in the trash?

The city’s poster doesn’t make this clear, but its durangorecycles.com website provides the answer: “Remove plastic lids and caps and recycle them separately.”

Under the old recycling system, only No. 1 and 2 plastic would be accepted and caps and lids had to be thrown away.

Single-stream changes all that. Now the city will recycle No. 1 through 7 plastics as well as lids, despite the fact that most lids don’t feature one of those recycling numbers.

So lids are acceptable. In more ways than one.

Not only can you place a lid in city-regulated recycling bin, you can also place an order for a lid from one of the many city-regulated marijuana dispensaries.

Which shows you just how old Action Line is, given that a “lid” as a unit of measurement from the 1960s.

A “lid” is about an ounce, which also is the amount of pot one can legally possess in Colorado with the recent passage of the decriminalization measure Amendment 64.

Whether your marijuana is from a licensed facility or a bro with “connections,” chances are your lid will come in a plastic bag.

And that brings us right back to recycling. Plastic bags are not allowed in any Durango blue bin.

So let’s review. It’s acceptable to posses a lid of weed, but the plastic bag that the lid comes in is unacceptable for recycling.

It’s acceptable to purchase something like weed-treatment concentrate in a plastic bottle. And the city will accept the plastic bottle and the lid for recycling.

But the city can’t legally use the weed treatment in certain public parks; however, it’s legal to be in an organic park with a plastic bag of weed that probably was treated with chemicals.

And what will happen if the city acts on the plastic-bag ban? How will marijuana transactions take place when single-use bags are not acceptable in single-stream recycling?

It’s enough to flip one’s lid.

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you download your recycling poster at www.durangogov.org/DocumentCenter/View/589.

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