COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A recycling education campaign in Columbus aims to keep you from placing the wrong items in your recycle container, and it will ultimately save the city money.
Recycling contamination, caused by incorrect or soiled materials placed into the recycling system, increases costs and decreases recovery of recyclable materials. Contamination can threaten the sustainability of the city’s recycling program.
“I know it’s important for the environment and everything, and I want to play my part and all that, but it’s mostly the wife who keeps me in line,” said John Davis of Columbus.
It does not matter your reason for recycling as long as you do it.
Do you know the dos and don’ts when it comes to Columbus’ curbside recycling program?
“I generally know, but I don’t think I’m an expert by any stretch,” said Davis.
Tim Swauger with the City of Columbus said that’s why workers will walk to 20,000 houses in Columbus for the next eight weeks to check your recycling containers, looking to see if the correct items are in there.
“We have 75 to 80 percent of our residents putting their cans out, but we had about 20 percent of those people participating have contaminates in their containers,” said Swauger.
Some of the more common items they people put into their recycle containers that aren’t allowed are plastic bags, large bulky plastic containers, hangars, cables, and leashes.
Right now, the city spends $4.5 million per year on this program. If people recycle correctly, it can cut down on the cost and allow the city to sustain the program longer.
“We have some plastic bags, some plastic that isn’t recyclable, a food container,” said Michael Minnix with Good Land Ohio. “What I would do is probably mark this and give them a warning for having those materials in there.”
Minnix said he walks about eight miles and checks nearly 500 recycle bins each day.