More and more trash is making its way into city recycling centers, contaminating tons of goods and making the process more expensive.
There are many ways to recycle in the city including eleven Metro Public Works Recycling Drop-off Sites.
“Having the recycling center is a great resource,” Bellevue resident Matt Cole said.
But many times Cole and other residents have seen that resource misused.
“You’ll see garbage sitting beside the bins,” Bellevue resident Jenny Bradley said.
Trash and non-recyclable items contaminate recycling.
“It means that the material has to be processed more, it costs more to recycle and it reduces the revenue that comes back to the city,” Metro Public Works Assistant Director Sharon Smith said.
From July of 2017 to June of 2018 Metro Waste Management took in more than 55,000 tons of recyclables through various programs averaging more than 4,600 tons a month.
All of that recycling is sorted at Waste Management’s processing facility.
“Plastic bags are probably the number one worst thing you can put in because it gets wound around the recycling equipment,” Smith said.
When News 4 visited the processing facility we saw hundreds of plastic bags, garden hoses and plastic furniture pulled off of the sorting conveyor belt and tossed into a dumpster.
“If there’s a lot of contamination it may have to go through the facility more than once,” Smith said.
Contamination that if kept out could save everyone time and money.
“To be inappropriately using a great resource is very upsetting,” Bradley said.
Metro Public Works just received grant money from the state so they are able to pass out more reading materials and recycling bin stickers to hopefully better educate people and cut down on this contamination.
To learn more about what you can and can’t recycle visit Metro Public Works’ website.
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