Residents reminded to recycle, city offers information

The City of Kerrville’s Solid Waste Division has provided its residents with up to date reminders and information about recycling.

The Solid Waste Division says, “One of the key objectives in the city’s decision to convert to a cart system in 2015 was to improve Kerrville’s recycling program as a whole. Having a successful recycling program aids in keeping solid waste collection rates low by avoiding landfill tipping fees.”

The SWD also states, “Despite recent articles regarding the recycling industry and the difficulties that have surfaced, Republic Services continues to market all recyclables collected in our community. Efforts to avoid landfilling any clean recyclables continues to be optimal. The program has seen great diversion rates reaching into the 30 percent range in some months. The national average is 35 percent, and Kerrville averaged 27 percent monthly in 2017.

One aspect that adversely affects recycling is contamination. With the summer months ahead, more opportunities for contamination may occur. Republic Services has observed many carts that are contaminated. This has a huge impact on everyone’s efforts to reduce waste from entering landfills. Too much contamination can result in landfilling all the contents of a collection truck rather than recycling them. Contamination occurs when the following is done:

• Not rinsing items that previously contained food or beverages. This causes your cart to become unsanitary and adds to the contamination of a collection vehicle. If the item is DIFFICULT TO RINSE, place it into the garbage.
• Placing recyclables in your cart that are NOT part of our program such as scrap metal, electronics, certain plastics, food waste, textiles, yard waste, styrofoam, soiled paper.
• Placing recyclables in plastic bags. BAGS SHOULD NOT be used because of the
uncertainty of their contents. Your bag might be clean, but your neighbors may contain garbage.

Listed below are some helpful tips on how you can contribute to a successful program:

• Educate all family members on what can be recycled as well as what CAN’T.
• Obtain educational literature for visual references.
• If you have ANY DOUBTS on an item, discard it with your trash and contact the city.
• Follow all requirements for your cart to avoid interruptions, which typically are due to OVERLOADING, IMPROPER PLACEMENT, OR CONTAMINATION.”

“Contamination is a growing problem in municipal recycling throughout the United States,” City of Kerrville Assistant Director of Public Works David Barrera said. “I am in constant communication with Republic Services and we encounter issues here locally as well. I believe that there is a strong enthusiasm to recycle; however, this can lead to recycling the wrong way. To avoid this, our focus is to educate citizens on proper recycling so we can keep the contamination rate as low as possible. Repeat contamination at a particular address may induce specific code enforcement action. It is very important to understand what is acceptable in our program and follow proper guidelines. I encourage citizens to contact our offices if they have questions on recycling. Our staff is available to answer questions about our program, or the industry itself. On behalf of city staff and Republic Services, we would like to thank all those in our community that recycle often, and recycle right.”

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