City Officials Press Residents to Recycle with Care
Cathy Basile & Alex Hall, 10-09-2018

Public Utilities and Community Outreach Coordinator Rebecca McCleary presents information at the "Community & Environmental Stewardship" meeting at Quirk Cultural Center on Aug. 11.
Stephen Mulé
The City of Cuyahoga Falls has recently been pushing residents to recycle responsibly in order to help maintain the city's curbside recycling program and keep costs down in light of some changes in recycling standards.

As far back as August 11th, the city hosted a community meeting entitled “Community & Environmental Stewardship,” in which Rebecca McCleary, Public Utilities and Community Outreach Coordinator, addressed responsible recycling, hazardous waste recycling, yard waste, and energy efficiency. Just a month afterward, the city distributed a press release entitled “City of Cuyahoga Falls Urges Residents to Recycle Responsibly,” and since then the Residential Recycle Guide has reappeared with utility bills reminding residents of what is and is not acceptable in curbside recycle bins.

According to the Sept. 5th press release, “due to national and international changes in recycling markets, new recycling quality standards have taken effect. City of Cuyahoga Falls Sanitation & Recycling customers are asked to help keep Cuyahoga Falls’ recycling program successful by recycling responsibly.” Indeed, thanks to a new policy in China that bans the importation of plastic waste, countries who sent such waste there must now manage it themselves or find other countries who will do so, which has dramatically driven up plastic waste export costs. Neighborhood Excellence, Communications and Community Outreach Department Director Kelli Crawford-Smith told the Falls Free Press that “the reason that we're trying so hard right now with this campaign … is to try and start driving costs back down.”

The campaign seeks to remind residents that acceptable items for recycling in curbside bins include plastic bottles and jugs, glass bottles and jars, and metal cans, all of which should be rinsed. Additionally, newspaper, office paper, and clean, dry cardboard (excluding pizza boxes) that has been flattened may be placed in the bins. Items such as styrofoam in any form, plastic bags, toys, food waste, yard waste, medical, or other wastes may contribute to rising costs if they are placed in curbside bins. Residents should also avoid bagging recyclables before placing in bins, as doing so keeps contents from being sorted and the bag itself is not acceptable in the bin, so the bag and its contents simply end up in the landfill despite the attempt to recycle.

Crawford-Smith reassures that “our intention is not to get rid of our recycling program, but what we do need to be cognizant of is the types of materials that are being recycled and what's being accepted.” If residents heed the warnings, then, the city's recycling program should remain cost-effective, and sustainable.

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