Elgin, Waste Management Reduce Recycling Contamination

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 26, 2017 | Go to article overview

Elgin, Waste Management Reduce Recycling Contamination


Byline: Elena Ferrarin eferrarin@dailyherald.com

Elgin, Waste Management reduce recycling contamination

A pilot program designed to decrease recycling contamination -- primarily from plastic bags -- in Elgin did much better than in other communities served by Waste Management, company representatives told the city council Wednesday.

The city and Waste Management, which Elgin contracts for refuse services, partnered for the "Recycle Often. Recycle Right." program that targeted, in different phases, various neighborhoods beginning in January 2016.

"Elgin has been a great partner," said Vaughn Kuerschner, public sector solutions representative for the company.

Results for the pilot program in Elgin have been greater than in communities in Colorado and California where the company also offered it, he said. "Together we can make a difference, and each person can make a difference."

The aim is to instill three behaviors: recycle all empty bottles, cans, paper and cardboard; keep food and liquids out; and keep plastic bags out.

"Unless you have a clean (pizza) box, it goes into the garbage," Kuerschner said.

Contamination dropped between 21.4 percent and 40.6 percent in different neighborhoods through August, data show. The latest numbers are being calculated. By the end, less than 1 in 3 household refuse carts were contaminated, with the goal being 10 percent.

Altogether, about 11,500 homes in Elgin have been included in the program, with another 3,850 targeted in February and the remaining 15,000 or so sometime later this year.

Residents get a red hanger on their refuse carts when they throw in nonrecyclables and green hangers when they stop doing that or do it less. …

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