JCDHE works with City of Mission to improve recycling, decrease contamination

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is partnering with the City of Mission and GFL Environmental (trash and recycling hauler) to provide recycling education to reduce contamination and improve recycling habits as part of the “Recycle Right” campaign.

On Monday, Feb. 7, JCDHE’s recycling specialists will be walking through neighborhoods in Mission, assessing the contents of recycle bins. If non-recyclable items are found, feedback offering tips on ways to improve their recycling will be left on the bin. The first area to be observed will be the part of the city that has a Monday recycling collection.

Changing market conditions—both international and domestic—have brought increased attention and pressure to the recycling industry. By placing non-recyclable materials in your curbside recycle bin, you can unintentionally impact the recycling industry in several ways, including harming the equipment at the recycling facility and causing good-quality recyclable materials to end up in the landfill.

The “Recycle Right” campaign started in May 2021, when JCDHE staff worked with the City of Westwood to assess recycle bins left at the curb and provide residents with feedback. The most frequent problems observed included plastic bags and plastic product wrap/shrink wrap, bagged recyclables (which end up in the landfill and can get stuck in recycling equipment), paper towels and other non-recyclable paper.

“Many people want to recycle but can be confused about what is accepted. Our goal is to provide direct feedback on what shouldn’t be in recycle bins, provide them recycling options for things like glass that could be recycled elsewhere and give them a resource to turn to if they have other questions,” says Brandon Hearn, environmental health scientist with Johnson County.

Learn more about recycling in Johnson County.

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