Centerville launches program targeting recycling contamination

Centerville has launched a summer-long, grant-funded campaign to reduce recycling contamination by partnering with the Recycling Partnership, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Montgomery County Environmental Services and Rumpke Recycling.

The grant is for $2,500, which covers all costs associated with the recycling contamination program.

A random sampling of Centerville customers prior to the program launch found 28 percent of what was put into recycling containers could not be accepted for recycling.

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Instead, it was “contaminated,” meaning those materials were incorrect or soiled. Contamination threatens the sustainability of the entire program by escalating costs and increasing risk of injury or damage to workers and equipment.

“Ohio EPA and The Recycling Partnership are working in collaboration with Ohio communities to develop and implement a comprehensive education and outreach strategy to decrease the amount of trash in curbside recycling programs while increasing how much Ohioans recycle,” said Jill Martin, VP of Community Programs for The Recycling Partnership.

Centerville is one of six cities selected across Ohio to receive a grant investing in education and outreach to improve the quality of recyclables.

“Our city’s longstanding commitment to recycling includes curbside pick-up, a recycling container program and a recently purchased recycling truck. We are eager to learn new ways to implement an education program, reduce waste contamination, increase recycling participation and share that knowledge with the rest of the country,” Centerville City Manager Wayne Davis said.

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This month, information cards will be mailed to all Centerville recycling customers reminding them of items that can be recycled at facilities owned by Rumpke.

In mid-July, the city kicks off its “feet on the street” initiative, mobilizing specially-trained personnel to conduct curbside cart observations.

This initiative will be conducted only for homes in the Concept East, Black Oak, Nestle Creek and Cheltenham neighborhoods.

Residents who have contaminants in their recycling carts will receive informational “Oops tags” on their carts with specific feedback designed to reduce contamination.

Recycling carts with contamination will not be emptied. Residents will be given the opportunity to correct the mistake and return the cart to the curb the following week.

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At the end of July, another informational card will go out to a portion of recycling customers alerting them to the top contaminant crews find during the feet on the street initiative.

“Centerville looks forward to working together with our partners and our customers to help improve our recycling system and to help create an education and outreach model that can be replicated throughout the state,” Davis said.

Residents can typically recycle the following:

Glass bottles and jars (all colors)

Metal cans: Aluminum cans, steel cans and lids, empty aerosol cans with the lids and tips removed

Plastic bottles (empty, crush, reattach lid): Bottles and jugs that have a small mouth and wider base, such as milk jugs, soda bottles, laundry detergent bottles, water bottles, shampoo bottles and contact solution bottles

Paper: newspaper, magazines, cardboard, mixed office paper and envelopes, paperboard (cereal boxes), pizza boxes free of food debris and grease, telephone books and catalogs

Cartons: food and beverage cartons, such as milk, juice, soup, wine, broth and other cartons.

Recycling tips:

Mix all items together – no separation required

Empty all bottles, jugs and cans

No need to remove labels

For plastic bottles, empty, crush and reattach lids

For cartons, remove plastic caps and straws

Never place medical sharps or needles in the recycling

Don’t use plastic bags

Not accepted

Plastic bags, cassette tapes, bed sheets, hangers, metal chains, garden hoses, batteries, needles, syringes, electronics, polystyrene foam, buckets, butter tubs, car parts, food, yard waste, light bulbs, drinking glasses, ceramics, pots, pans, and scrap metal

SOURCE: Rumpke

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