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Akron launching new recycling program to crack down on contamination

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jun 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-01 21:33:53-04

AKRON, Ohio — Do you know how to recycle properly? Well if not and you live in Akron, you’ll soon be getting a lesson on how to do it the right way.

We all know recycling is good for our planet but many of us are doing it all wrong.

“This helps us, our kids, future generations, everyone just do better for the environment really,” Jacqui Ricchiuti, CEO of Keep Akron Beautiful, said.

According to the National Waste and Recycling Association, 25 percent of all recycling across the country is contaminated.

“People are trying to recycle right or they think they may be recycling right, but they’re recycling the wrong items,” Ricchiuti said.

Keep Akron Beautiful and city officials are now trying to fix that problem with the Recycle Right campaign.

The city will get about $236,000 in grants through that collaboration with the Recycling Partnership and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“We will be going bin to bin in the City of Akron for all of our recycling customers, flipping open the lid and checking to see what’s inside there,” RIcchiuti said.

They’re looking for six main contaminants: garbage in plastic bags, plastic wrap, film or bags, food or liquid, clothing or linens, and yard or construction waste.

If they’re found inside, you’ll get a warning.

“If they get an 'oops' tag on their cart, they will have time to rectify that situation so it’ll be tagged on their bin and then they’ll have a week to empty the contents and put the correct recyclables in there and then they can take it back out to the curb the following week to be dumped and recycled,” Ricchiuti said.

If homeowners don’t comply, they’ll get a second tag and a second chance to fix the problem.

If it's still not fixed by the third week, the city will take their recycling bins away and revoke their ability to recycle in the city.

Sounds harsh but officials say this isn’t a punishment.

“This program really is just to weed out the people who are putting garbage and construction debris into their recycling bins. Those people are not trying to recycle and those are the people we’re trying to get out,” Ricchiuti said.

Five other communities including Lorain, Columbus and Cincinnati are also getting involved in this campaign.

Akron’s program kicks off June 3 and finishes on August 26.