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Reduce contaminated recycling with tips from Republic


In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Republic Services Inc. encourages their employees and the communities they serve to commit to taking their recycling habits to the next level with #1MORE act of environmental responsibility to reduce contamination of the recycling waste stream.

Recycling contamination can be anything other than what is intended to be collected and recycled, including unwanted substances such as residual food or liquid that can be harmful to the recycling process. Once a contaminated item comes into contact with other recyclables, the entire batch can potentially become contaminated.

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“We all play a critical role in keeping our community recycling programs running properly and helping to reduce contamination,” said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability, in a press statement. “Many consumers are placing contaminated items into their containers and consequently, many of those recyclables end up in the landfill and not where they were intended. This Earth Day and throughout the year, we encourage everyone to take #1MORE step to help reduce contamination by incorporating four easy tips into your daily routine.”

Four Tips to Reduce Recycling Contamination:

Tip #1: Only Place These Recyclables in the Curbside Recycling Container Keep it simple and focus on these four categories of curbside recyclables:

  • Paper, including newspapers, envelopes, mail, phone books and magazines
  • Flattened cardboard, file folders and poster board
  • Plastic bottles and containers
  • Aluminum and tin food and beverage cans

Composite packaging, such as cardboard and plastic used together in a 24-pack of bottled water where there is a cardboard bottom and shrink-wrapped plastic, cannot be recycled unless they are separated before placing in the recycling container.

Tip #2: Recyclables Should Be Empty, Clean & Dry Make sure recyclables are empty of any contents, clean of any residue and dry before placing them into the recycling container.

Tip #3: When In Doubt, Throw It Out Many consumers put items into the recycling container hoping that they are recyclable. Despite these good intentions, some items  should not be mixed in with clean recyclables. If questioning whether something is recyclable or not, follow the guidance, “When in doubt, throw it out,” by tossing the items into the trash container.

Tip #4: Know What Should Never be Placed in the Curbside Recycling Container Below is a list of items that should never be placed into a curbside recycling container:

  • Plastic grocery and shopping bags
  • Food waste
  • Clothing, shoes and other textiles
  • Yard waste, plants, grass clippings, cords and garden hoses
  • Styrofoam, fiberglass and other foam packing material
  • Disposable diapers and puppy pads
  • Tissue, paper towels, paper napkins and hardcover books
  • Treated or contaminated wood, sheetrock or drywall
  • Metal such as chains, tools and car parts
  • Electronic devices and equipment as well as batteries, fluorescent bulbs and ballasts are hazardous materials that must be handled differently than other household waste and recyclables. For business customers, Republic offers programs to recycle electronics securely and responsibly, and to safely dispose of batteries, bulbs and ballasts.

About Republic Services Republic Services, Inc. is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste disposal. Through its subsidiaries, Republic’s collection companies, recycling centers, transfer stations and landfills focus on providing effective solutions to make proper waste disposal effortless for its 14 million customers.