DeLand, FL – With cities throughout America either scaling back or ending their recycling efforts for economic reasons, one local city plans to start what it calls an “education campaign” to teach residents how to be better at recycling.
Starting Monday (March 18th), the City of DeLand will feature common household items on its social media along with tips on when or when to not recycle those items.
City spokesperson Chris Graham says the main goal is to help people become more efficient recyclers and protect the environment as well as limit costs to taxpayers.
“Cities across the nation are grappling with the rising cost of recycling due to declining demand for recyclables,” Graham added.
DeLand, like many cities, has been paid in the past for collecting recyclables by the waste management companies, but with China – the #1 garbage importer in the world – now accepting less garbage and enforcing stricter rules and regulations about what it does accept, that’s left many local governments unsure if they want to continue the practice.
Deltona suspended its recycling program earlier this year due to rising costs from Waste Pro and other local governments have considered the same thing.
DeLand isn’t sure at this point what it could cost their residents, but Graham says one way costs could go down is by improving the “contamination rate”. That’s referring to the number of items placed in recycling bins which actually can’t be reused or repurposed.
One example he gave was cardboard, which normally is recyclable. However, one common form of cardboard use – pizza boxes – often sees grease seeping from the pizza into the cardboard, and in that case, it often can’t be recycled, according to Graham.
“The average contamination rate for communities is around 25%,” Graham stated. “[That means] one in four items placed in a recycling container is actually not recyclable and, in turn, [it] contaminates other recyclable material.”
City Public Works Director Demetris Pressley says one simple rule to remember is “when in doubt, throw it out”.
“Recycling is just one part of the equation,” Pressley added. “In order to make a difference, we need to be good stewards of our environment.”
DeLand plans to run this campaign – and promote its free Recycle Coach smartphone application for iPhone and Android users – until Earth Day on April 22nd, per Graham.
“The app has information on hundreds of household items and informs users on how the items should be disposed of,” Graham stated. “The app also provides reminders to DeLand residents on trash, recycling and yard waste pickup days including holiday schedules.”
Click here to access the app or download it through Google Play (Android) or App Store (Apple).