The problem of contaminated materials within recycling collections is a global one, and ever more pressing.
Every council we speak to tells us this is so, and it’s one felt all around the world.
Take Seminole County in Florida, USA. Approximately 270 tons of recyclable material goes through their ‘Transfer Station’ every week.
Sadly, 20% of the material they collect cannot be recycled, with the “biggest problem … people putting their recycling in plastic bags”, the Spectrum News reported on October 25th.
Often, residents do a pretty good job of separating recycling materials from general rubbish.
One of the biggest problems though, is residents putting recycled material in plastic bags.
“We don’t know what’s in that bag and it’s a safety issue to open the bag to find or pull out recycled materials inside,” said Jeff Waters, manager for the Seminole County Solid Waste Management Division.
As collectors don’t know what’s in the bag, and it’s unsafe to go opening them, the whole bag is thrown into general rubbish, which rather “defeats the purpose of separating it for recycling”, he said.
The council has posted on social media many times that they’re having “major issues” with recycling contamination which “must be resolved.”
They say they’re making every effort to continue their recycling program.
What’s worse, is that some residents mix their garbage with recycled materials.
“We still need our residents to play a vital role in only placing the materials at the curb that they know is part of the program,” said Waters.
What this shows, is that councils like Seminole and managers like Jeff need a solution that solves this contamination problem at source. Once it gets to the council sorting centre, it’s simply too expensive or difficult to deal with. Otherwise recycled materials simply end up in landfill.
BinSense has developed a world first sensor that can detect contaminants WITHIN the recycling bin, educating residents on whether they have recycled correctly, and telling the recycling truck drivers whether the bin is full of clean recycling or not.
Contact Naren @ BinSense for more information…
Main Image: Jeff Waters from Seminole County. Read the original story and watch video from Spectrum News.