Fresh with the New Year, Lane County Waste Management Division began a 6-month pilot project that seeks to improve the quantity and quality of recycling at apartments, condominiums and multi-tenant properties.
Some of the 2,000 households in the pilot may be wondering: “Who is that peeking into garbage and recycling containers?” It’s BRING Recycling’s waste analyst staff. They are recording data about how much trash is in the recycling and how much recycling is in the trash.
This week, distribution of large durable tote bags to each household in the pilot began. The bags are emblazoned with recycling instructions and will provide a way for residents to collect their recyclables and transport them to the waste areas without using plastic bags – which don’t belong in mixed recycling.
After giving households a few weeks to get into new habits, each waste enclosure in the pilot will be visited for a second round of data collection. Comparing the results of the two waste studies will help confirm the value of the bag as an effective educational resource. A third review of each waste enclosure this spring will help determine whether those new habits stuck around.
This project is made possible with grant funding from The Recycling Partnership, a national organization dedicated to improving recycling throughout the country.
“The Recycling Partnership has a long history of providing excellent resources and assistance for curbside recycling programs,” said Sarah Grimm, waste reduction specialist for Lane County. “Our plans were made ten times better with The Partnership’s involvement. Not only are we able to provide effective distribution of the bags as an education resource for our multi-family residents, but we also have the benefit of The Partnership’s extensive experience in data collection and analysis.”
Providing clear instructions and signs on containers has largely been optional for cities and property managers. But in the 2015 legislative session, Oregon lawmakers voted to require that such services be in place starting in 2022. Lane County is using this study to ensure efforts are data driven and effective.
“We are pleased to support Lane County’s efforts to increase recycling and decrease contamination at multi-family properties,” said Asami Tanimoto, community program manager at The Recycling Partnership. “With the new state law requiring recycling at multi-family properties in place starting next year, it’s great to see the County making resources available for property managers now. This pilot program will unlock valuable recyclables in multifamily homes that can be used to create new products.
Clear instructions distributed to residents periodically and coordinated signage are often the most effective tools to keeping the recycling clean and sorted correctly. Go to www.lanecounty.org/multifamilyrecycling for free signs and printed material resources.