Mary Struble is right and her family members are wrong.

Yogurt containers don't belong in the recycling bin.

The 90-year-old Clintonville woman, however, said visiting relatives believe they do and place them there when they are at her home.

Struble, a member of the Village in the Ville program of the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, had her assumption about the plastic tubs confirmed shortly before she and other Village in the Ville members took a tour Sept. 11 of the Rumpke recycling plant, 1191 Fields Ave. in Columbus.

Anne Gray, education specialist with Cincinnati-based Rumpke, one of the country's largest family-owned recycling operations, said there is a term for what members of Struble's family do with yogurt containers: "wish-cycling."

Village in the Ville is part of a national movement designed to help people 50 and older remain in their homes longer as well as provide them with social and educational outings, such as the recycling-plant visit.

Christine Happel, program director for Village in the Ville, said she was invited on a Rumpke tour with another group and thought it would be something members of her group would enjoy. Nine members, including Struble, signed up.

Gray, who led the group through the noisy plant, said Rumpke officials like the public to know tours of the facility are available. It's another means, she said, of explaining single-stream recycling and emphasizing "what's acceptable, what isn't and why not."

Single-stream refers to an approach to accepting recyclable materials. It means everything goes into a single household bin.

"You don't have to separate that material by type," Gray said.

That is done at the plant, ranging from high-tech methods for whisking away paper from rapidly moving conveyor belts to the low-tech approach of workers plucking out other stuff.

Single-stream recycling was instituted in Columbus in 2002, Gray said.

Plastic shopping bags -- like the kind Kroger stores are phasing out nationwide and are the subject of outright bans in other cities -- are the main things people attempt to recycle that Rumpke can't handle, Gray said.

"It's a real problem for us," she said. "They can bring million-dollar pieces of equipment to a screeching halt."

The main rule for recycling plastic, Gray said, is if the top of a container is narrower than the base, Rumpke can take it. If a container wouldn't be called a bottle or a jug, the company cannot.

"We need an end user and then we need the quantity and the quality that they want," Gray said.

Other items Rumpke doesn't take include extension cords, clothing, pots and pans, dog leashes, leather belts and batteries.

"We don't have deer carcasses on there, but we've received those," Gray said. "With hunting season coming up, I'm sure we'll see some of those."

"I think it was really informative and interesting to see all of the technology involved in sorting the recyclables," Happel said the day after the tour. "I think it left a lot of the members thinking about how they can be better recyclers and how they can use less of materials that can't be recycled."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1