Announcement from the From Burlington County Recycling Program- 6/22/18
Tip and Tag . . . .coming to your town to help! Be Ready!
The new challenge is that outbound shipments of recycled materials from the United States are being rejected by mills across the globe due to contamination.
- We are fighting this issue with our Recycle Right initiative.
- A recycling mailer with the Recycle Right guidelines was sent to all homes in the county but trash is still being mixed with recyclables.
- The goal of the Tip n Tag project is to reduce this contamination by changing behavior.
The County Tip and Tag team will be looking in recycling carts at the curb during several collection cycles in sections of your town.
- The inspections will start at 7:30am and the recycling truck will service the area after the team has finished, sometime early afternoon.
- If a resident is not Recycling Right an OOPs Tag will be placed on their cart indicating the problem.
- Carts with significant contamination will be rejected and receive both an OOPs Tag and a green rejection sticker. The cart will be turned so the opening of the cart faces the home. Rejected carts will not be serviced.
- We will provide you a list of the addresses with rejected carts.
- Addresses with tagged and/or rejected or carts will be rechecked on the next recycling day.
- If the contents of a rechecked cart look good, it will be tagged with a “Shine On” tag.
- These actions have proven successful in changing behavior in other areas of the country.
We need you to:
- Get the attached flyer out on your websites, local newspapers, send it out on email lists or any way you can.
- Inform all phone staff so they understand how the program works and can correctly respond to calls from residents.
- Residents with rejected carts must remove the trash and non-recyclables materials before their next recycling day.
- If residents call about overflow of recyclables, advise them to use municipal recycling dropoff, that is why you have one, or hold it until the next recycling collection.
- Let your municipal officials and police know we will be out there. (see attached letter sent to your mayor from the NJDEP)
- Hopefully join us at the curb for at least part of the project!
The convenience of automated carts for recycling increased recycling participation, a desired result. Recycling programs expanded to keep more discarded household items out of landfills, but the purity of the recyclables deteriorated as more trash became mixed with the recyclables. Contamination occurs when items that don’t belong in your recycling cart are placed there and end up collected. The worst is recyclables in plastic bags, plastic bags and wrap, discarded food, bottles with liquids, Styrofoam packaging, food-contaminated cardboard like pizza boxes, and other contaminants that cause hazards to equipment and workers like wires, chains or electronics and even propane tanks. These contaminants and more, recently accounted for as much as 20% of the material shipped to China, according to Waste Management Inc.’s estimates, double from five years ago.
The problem grew so severe, that China officials have slashed the contaminants limit to 0.5%. China early last month suspended all imports of U.S. recycled materials until June 4, regardless of the quality. OTC’s residue hovers around 10% slightly higher than last fall, due to the extra effort by OTC to remove contaminants, but plastic bags are increasing. We have been checking loads of recycling coming in to the recycling center, and regardless of the municipality, all loads had too much contamination. Then it becomes a processing nightmare!
We are taking recycling education efforts to the curb, the source of the problem. As we inspect recycling carts, leaving tags showing how to recycle right, our goal is to change behavior and keep our material marketable. If we can’t market the recyclables the cost of the program rises or worse, has no home.