by Max Brantley
The Regional Recycling and Waste Reduction District today announced it is implementing a plan to curb the rising levels of contamination in the residential single-stream recycling programs in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood and other areas of Pulaski County. Contamination includes material that cannot be recycled and must be sent to the landfill.
Beginning June 6, 2016, recycling carts will be audited for contamination. If contamination is visible, a tag will be placed on the cart describing the problem in order to inform the recycler. If a customer is tagged three times, further steps, such as citations or removal of the cart from the address, may be taken to reduce contamination in the recycling stream.
“Contamination has reached an unsustainable level,” said Executive Director John Roberts. “When the contamination reaches this point, even good recyclable material must be sent to the landfill, which negates the positive efforts of the citizens who recycle properly.”
All recycled materials are handled at the Waste Management Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). The MRF is a valuable resource to citizens of central Arkansas communities that allows citizens to responsibly recycle material. Contamination increases the cost associated with operating the MRF in a manner that threatens the long-term feasibility of recycling in central Arkansas and poses a significant danger to MRF employees.
In coordination with Waste Management and the cities of Little Rock, North Little Rock and Sherwood, the District is increasing its education efforts to assist participants in proper recycling practices.
“Throughout the summer and into the fall, we are going to increase our educational efforts,” said Roberts. “We have one of the highest participation rates in the country for residential recycling and most participants are doing a great job, which presents a great opportunity if we can better remind people how to recycle properly.”
All items in the recycling cart should be separate, loose and non-bagged. Clean paper, plastic, glass and metal can be recycled. Food and yard waste, and medical supplies such as needles, propane tanks, batteries and electronics cannot be recycled. When these items are mixed with good recyclables, the whole load may be deemed contaminated and unrecyclable.
For questions regarding proper recycling techniques, please call the Regional Recycling and Waste Reduction District at 501-340-8787 or visit regionalrecycling.org.