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City Launches “Recycle Right” Campaign to Curb Contamination

An educational campaign aimed at making sure the right materials are recycled the right way.
Post Date:03/01/2019 5:05 PM

The City encourages residents to “Recycle Right” with an educational campaign aimed at making sure the right materials are recycled the right way.

For recyclable items to be accepted at the processing site, a truckload can’t have more than 0.5% contamination. If it does, the truck will get refused, and ALL of the contents, even the stuff that is recyclable, will be sent to the landfill. To prevent that from happening, it’s important that people are recycling the right items correctly.

To ensure that perfectly good recyclable items don’t end up in the landfill, the City’s contractor, Goode Companies, Inc., will begin leaving contaminated bins and carts at the curb if they contain items that can’t be recycled.  A sticker will be put on the bin letting the resident know what needs to be removed for the bin to be collected the next time around.

Since 2007, single-streaming has made it much easier to recycle in Gaithersburg, but there’s more to it than throwing it all in one bin or cart and calling it a day. While items don’t have to be separated, they must be cleaned and rinsed. The most common offense is placing plastic bags in recycling bins & carts. Plastic bags of any kind are NOT accepted, and if they’re in there, the bin or cart will be refused at the curb. Instead, take plastic bags to grocery stores that have a recycling collection bin or put them in your regular trash.

Informational door hangers with graphics that easily identify what is acceptable and what is not will soon be distributed to all single-family & townhomes in the City. Gaithersburg’s recycling program does not include multi-family apartment buildings and condominiums, live-work units and businesses, which are subject to Montgomery County recycling laws.

Acceptable items include (rinsed & cleaned):

  • Cans (aluminum and steel food and beverage)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Glass Jars/Bottles/Lids
  • Narrow-neck Plastic Bottles
  • Plastic food-grade tubs and lids, flower pots, beverage cups
  • Mixed Paper (no pizza boxes)
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Milk/Juice Cartons and Tetra Paks
  • Aerosol Cans (from non-hazardous products)

NOT accepted:

  • NO Plastic Bags, film or wrap
  • NO Empty Bottles that had motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides or any hazardous products
  • NO Styrofoam and Polystyrene (Plastic – 6)
  • NO Pizza Boxes
  • NO Glass dishes, plates, mirrors, windows, light bulbs
  • NO Ceramic or Melamine
  • NO Leather Bound Books
  • NO Paint Cans
  • NO Bulky or Rigid Plastic (such as crates, toys, lawn furniture, and plastic clothes hangers)

If you’re unsure if an item can be recycled, it’s best to put it in your trash. When in doubt, throw it out.

Reminder, place recycling at the curb by 7 a.m. on your collection day.

Recycling is collected weekly from more than 13,000 homes in the City. Residents who participate in the recycling program pay an annual fee on their tax bill that includes the weekly curbside pickup of appropriately packaged yard waste and single stream recyclables, and the delivery of recycling carts, bins and lids. The recycling fee also pays for a portion of the monthly bulk pickup items that can be recycled, including the collection of household appliances, also known as “white goods.”

Learn more about Gaithersburg’s comprehensive recycling initiatives.

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