Residents in Montgomery County, Maryland, are being given a lesson on what they should and shouldn’t be putting in their recycling bins.
“About 40% of what we’re getting at the recycling center is actually not recyclable,” said Adam Ortiz, director of the county’s environmental protection department.
In 2020, the county’s recycling center received more than 7,000 tons of non-recyclable material.
That represented about 22% of all non-paper recycling received at the center at an approximate cost of $750,000.
“We end up getting things that we have to process again and send for disposal which is very expensive,” said Ortiz. “We have to send it someplace else so it’s double processed and double expensive for the taxpayer.”
The department is trying to limit the problem now by inspecting recycling bins around the county and tagging bins that contain items that can’t be collected in an effort to let residents know what they shouldn’t be putting in there.
According to Ortiz, some of the most common non-recyclables being put in recycling bins include plastic bags, Styrofoam containers, plastic film such as Saran wrap and used face masks.
The department released a video on YouTube, laying out what can and cannot be recycled.