Putting wrong items into recycling bins can get you on the naughty list

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by Christian Hauser, WKRC

Make sure the items you’re putting in your recycling container can actually be recycled. (WKRC)

ST. BERNARD, Ohio (WKRC) – The holidays always bring in more items at the Rumpke Recycling facility on Vine Street in St. Bernard.

Molly Yeager with Rumpke said that, on average, the facility will see about a 25 percent increase due to the holidays.

“We know from holiday gatherings, we will see a lot more cardboard and a lot more paper. At the trash side, you’ll see some more food waste the normal,” Yeager said.

That also means a lot of stuff will end up at the recycling center that should have ended up at the landfill instead.

“Putting the wrong things in that program can prevent the right things from being recycled. It can cause damage to equipment or, in some cases, it can actually, if it’s flammable, cause a fire here at the facility,” Yeager said.

Recycling helps everyone out by keeping reusable materials out of the landfill. There is only so much space to dump stuff, and Rumpke needs to expand its Colerain site to add another 20 years of life to it.

“It’s important to save that space for the items we can’t recycle. The items that we can’t reuse, that we can’t reduce. So, by looking at your trash and saying, ‘Could this go somewhere else?’ That’s really important to do,” Yeager said.

Only plastic jugs and bottles can be recycled through Rumpke. Yeager said plastic shopping bags are one of the top things to end up there that can’t be recycled by the facility.

“We have a bunch of spinning discs in the plant, and when we have a bunch of plastic wrap or clothing come in, it gets caught around the spinning disc, and the spinning discs don’t work effectively and things aren’t properly sorted out. When things like batteries come in here, we have to stop the line and get it off the line to make sure that it doesn’t cause a fire. So, it just depends on the material and what it could possibly do to the plant,” Yeager said.

Christmas cards and wrapping paper, as long as it’s not the foil kind, are welcome at the facility. Cardboard boxes are also welcome.

“We need more cardboard boxes here. We know Amazon is shipping them directly to your house. If you break those down and put them in your recycling cart, or you can put them next to your recycling cart if it’s overflowing, and before you put it in your community dropbox, if you’re taking it to a community one, please break those down as well so more people have the ability to recycle,” Yeager said.

Batteries, on the other hand, should not be put in the recycling container.

“Batteries can be catastrophic to the operations. Back in 2012, we lost our recycling center here in greater Cincinnati to something flammable in a load. We’re not sure exactly what that was, but we know it was something flammable, and since we’ve opened this facility in 2013, we’ve had numerous fires at the facility. Fortunately, they’ve all been small and contained,” Yeager said. “A lot of them have been tracked back to batteries. Specifically, lithium-ion batteries, but as we saw today, there’s even car batteries that are being put, wrongly, in the recycling container.”

Click here for a list of acceptable items for Rumpke.

Click here for Best Way Disposal if they service you in Northern Kentucky.



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