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Partnership Aims to Educate Residents on Proper Recycling

CINCINNATI – May 20, 2021 – Rumpke Waste and Recycling is once again teaming up with Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District, The Recycling Partnership, the Ohio EPA to make sure everyone’s recycling efforts count in the City of Cincinnati.

Beginning the week of May 24 and running through July 3, a crew of Rumpke team members will be doing curbside education to improve the quality of material collected in recycling containers. The team will review recycling carts from approximately 20,000 households throughout the City.

“Often when people place material in their recycling cart, they are asking a question – ‘Can this be recycled?” said Molly Yeager, Rumpke communications manager. “We are providing the resident with feedback so that they know what should and shouldn’t be placed in the recycling carts.”

If nonrecyclable items are found in the cart, the Rumpke team will affix a tag to the cart, letting the resident know what nonrecyclable material was found. A “Warning” tag is left the first time a nonrecyclable is discovered. An “Oops” tag is left on any repeat checks explaining that the cart will not be collected until the resident removes the nonrecyclable items.

“Placing nonrecyclables in the recycling can prevent other items from being recycled, cause equipment jams, create safety hazards for workers and can drive up the cost of recycling,” said Michael Forrester, director of the Office of Environment and Sustainability, City of Cincinnati.

One of the most common nonrecyclables found are plastic bags, and items placed inside of plastic bags inside the cart.

“Recycling needs to be placed inside of carts loose so that it can be effectively sorted at the recycling facility,” said Michelle Balz, Hamilton County solid waste manager “Placing material inside of a plastic bag can prevent material from being recovered in the recycling process.”

Items that can be recycled include cardboard, paper, aluminum cans, steel cans, cartons, glass bottles and jars as well as plastic bottles, jugs and tubs.

The Recycling Partnership has partnered with communities around the nation to perform similar educational programs. After implementing elements of The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street program, some communities nationwide have seen as much as a 57% contamination decrease and average a 27% increase in the overall capture of quality recyclables.

“We are thrilled to see measurable results in communities working to improve the quality of their residential recycling streams,” said Jill Martin, Director of Community Programs at The Recycling Partnership. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with Cincinnati and help Southwest Ohio capture more quality recyclables, creating a more circular economy, a less wasteful planet, and stronger, healthier Ohio communities.=

This is the second time Rumpke has run this program in the City of Cincinnati. In 2019, the program was able to reduce contamination from 28% to 19%.

“While only 20,000 households are receiving the extra recycling education this go-around, everyone can take the time to review recycling lists to make sure only items accepted in the program are placed in recycling carts,” Balz said

Households that will be inspected received postcards with a reminder of what should and shouldn’t be included in recycling carts as well as promotion of the newest category of recyclables – plastic tubs. Each participating household has the opportunity to be inspected three times.

For more information on the program, visit www.cincinnati-oh.gov/recycling