Kyle Lewis, Program Director for Recycling for the City of Philadelphia discussed the city’s efforts toward sustainability by 2015. She described the world recycling crisis of 2018 when China began refusing contaminated materials, instead of receiving 14 million a year for the collection, we were now charged 8-9 million a year to take it. She noted that the loss of China, the country’s only client, has created new industry in the US as paper recyclers and other recovery facility come back online. She raised the possibility of grocery aisles dedicated to refill items – soon we will be taking containers to the store to fill instead of buying unnecessary packaging.
Kyle spoke about the city’s efforts to single stream our recyclables, allowing glass, paper, cardboard and plastic to go a one bin to a city Materials Recovery Facility for division into salable commodities and the problem with residents ‘Wish-cycling’ or ‘aspirational’ recycling, guessing and hoping that an item goes into the bin. She emphasized that only prepared materials go in, rinsed cans and jars, empty water bottles crushed with their caps on, and that NO dirty cardboard – greasy pizza boxes, paper towels. toys, wood or coat hangers go in. She explained that some items – such as hangers or plastic bags clog the rollers that separate the materials and that small bottle caps fall into the heavy glass at the bottom. She asked that plastic bags only be returned to the grocer, not put into the landfills or recycle stream. She also suggested refusing a bag and looking for the least amount of packaging as possible. To know what plastic goes into the bin, remember 2-1-5, the city’s area code, any of these three digits found on the item are recyclable.
Finally, a reminder, please Take a Minute Before You Bin It and When In Doubt Keep It Out.
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