Larger bins boost recycling locallyWORTHINGTON — Four months after Worthington residents received new recycling bins on wheels, Schaap Sanitation has seen what already was an excellent recycling program in the community get even better.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Four months after Worthington residents received new recycling bins on wheels, Schaap Sanitation has seen what already was an excellent recycling program in the community get even better.
The results were as expected, according to Schaap’s district manager Eric Joens, who said the amount of recyclable material hauled into their Worthington facility has increased by about 10 percent since the new recycling carts were introduced in September.
“We’re now able to take 50- to 60 percent of our waste stream and recycle it,” Joens said. “We’re recycling more than we’re landfilling by volume.”
“Six months ago, not everyone had a green bin,” Joens said, adding the company spent $240,000 for the nearly 4,000 new green recycling carts that provide both added capacity and convenience for Worthington residents. The carts are also keeping more recyclables from ending up in the landfill.
Prior to the introduction of the recycling carts, Joens said residents didn’t have enough capacity to recycle everything that is accepted by Schaap. The 95-gallon recycling carts replaced 22-gallon plastic bins that had been in use since the early 1990s.
While there was a concern that the change could mean garbage getting into the recycling bin, Joens said Schaap has worked hard to make sure that wasn’t happening, particularly during the first month of the new system. For the first couple of times on each route, Schaap employees physically checked the contents of each bin before it was unloaded to ensure residents were complying with the rules.
Where there were problems, Joens said they spoke directly to the resident and provided them with information on what is recyclable. He said in most instances, it was simply a language barrier. While the initial information that came with each cart was provided in both English and Spanish, it did not offer translation for the rest of the community’s diverse languages.
Joens said finding garbage mixed in with the recyclables is not the biggest problem for the program locally — it’s actually medical waste. Joens said items like syringes, insulin bottles, CPAP-related items, tubing and other medical supplies are strictly prohibited.
“It is extremely important for the health and safety of not just our employees, but all people, to keep those items out of the recycling,” he added.
With Christmas just one week away, now is a good reminder on just what is accepted by Schaap Sanitation’s recycling program.
Items accepted in the recycling cart include aluminum and tin, cardboard, glass, paper and plastics numbered 1 through 7. Clean aluminum foil, pie tins and cans are accepted, while clear, green and brown (amber) glass may be included in recycling. Food and beverage containers should be rinsed.
Among the acceptable paper items are newsprint, magazines, telephone books, catalogs, office paper, junk mail and envelopes, cereal boxes, beverage boxes and frozen food boxes.
Tissue paper, paper towels, wax paper and Christmas wrapping paper are not acceptable.
Joens said the recycling carts have worked so well in Worthington since they were introduced that Schaap is now planning to take them to other communities in Nobles County next spring.