Contest aims to boost recycling

Monitor staff
Published: 11/13/2019 4:19:27 PM

As part of an initiative to educate residents about what materials are recyclable, the city of Concord is holding a contest that can earn winners a free bundle of pay-as-you-throw trash bags.

On Nov. 15, “America Recycles Day,” residents can take the #BeRecycled pledge at AmericaRecyclesDay.org, a commitment to learning more about what materials are acceptable for recycling in Concord, reducing the amount of waste they produce, or buying products made from recycled content.

Residents that publicly share their pledge to Facebook or Twitter using the #BeRecycled hashtag and tag Concord General Services @ConcordNHGS by 5 p.m. on Nov. 15 will be entered for a chance to win the pay-as-you-throw trash bags.

The recycling industry has been significantly changing due to increased challenges with global market conditions, Concord General Services spokesperson Angelina Zulkic wrote in a press release. Recent market conditions have increased the demand for the improvement of the quality of materials in an effort to reduce contamination and help sustain recycling efforts.

Americans have adapted over the years to recycle more from expanded educational outreach and convenient recycling programs, such as single-stream recycling, Zulkic wrote. Single-stream recycling provides for all recyclables to be collected in the same bin and has made sorting materials into separate bins a practice of the past.

Concord, like many communities, introduced single-stream recycling to increase the ease and participation of recycling. Single-stream programs may have successfully increased recycling rates, but it also has led to increased contamination of materials.

Cities have found that the ease of placing all materials into a single bin has led consumers to practice “aspirational recycling” in which they place questionable items in their bin hoping it is recyclable. Consumers have good intentions doing this since it is better to recycle something than to throw it away in the trash, but often these items are not recyclable.

Materials are transported to recycling facilities where they are sorted out by machinery and line pickers, but single-stream facilities are not always equipped to efficiently process out certain materials. Plastic film is a leading source of recycling contamination and is not easy to sort at facilities. Plastic film includes plastic grocery bags, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, bread bags and other similar materials. Plastic bags must be kept out of household recycling and instead should be recycled at accepting local retailers since they have a dedicated stream for this material.

Cities that offer single-stream recycling are facing challenges to improve recycling materials to work with the current market. “The key here is educating consumers about what materials are acceptable and not acceptable for single-stream recycling,” stated Adam Clark, Administration Division Manager at Concord General Services. “If we can raise awareness about items that shouldn’t be placed in with recyclables, like plastic film, we can recycle better.”

Residents can learn more about Concord’s acceptable recycling materials and how you can recycle better at concordnh.gov/recycling.




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