The City’s Solid Waste and Recycling Department has seen an increase in recycling contamination, which is described as non-program materials being placed into your curbside recycling carts.
Through outreach efforts to help educate residents, the department has started a cart tagging program. Routes are chosen by the highest percentage of contamination for a concentrated approach.
The cart tagging program consists of a three-tag process:
- Recycling Star is given to residents doing a spectacular job at recycling.
- A Notice tag is left when a resident is doing well but has a few common contaminants.
- An Oops! tag/Contamination tag is given when the cart contains 15 percent or greater contamination.
We begin each inspection of the recycling cart by looking for any cracks, lid, or wheel damage, and updating any educational materials. We then lift each lid and do a quick visual inspection. If a cart is labeled as contaminated, a tag will be left and the cart is not collected. The resident is then instructed to remove any contamination, and the cart will be collected on their next collection day.
A second inspection would occur the following week to check the progress of the previously contaminated cart. If the items have not been removed, the cart would be tagged again. The most common unknown contaminants are bagged recyclables and plastic film.
The purpose of the program is to educate and increase the quality of the recycling stream. To date, the interns have visited 31 routes, inspected 2,744 homes, and left a contamination tag at 27 percent of the homes inspected. Our residential contamination rate has decreased by 9 percent over just four months.
Have questions about what items belong in your recycling cart? Check out our website at www.dentonrecycles.com.