Dallas officials have announced they will start conducting audits on the blue recycling bins of its citizens after a recent survey revealed that more than 25% of the materials placed in them were contaminated. The impurities are not just a threat to expensive equipment, but also a potential danger to workers. One of the most common pollutants found in the recycle bins is plastic bags.
FCC Environmental, which manages Dallas’ recycling, processes about 40 tons of recyclable materials each day, of which 10 tons are contaminated. These contaminants damage not only the machinery but the people who work with them as well. Many of these pollutants are unwittingly deposited by people who genuinely want to recycle. Garden hoses and stringed Christmas lights are some of the most frequent pollutants.
The city has announced it will start notifying households that are deemed to be sources of contamination. “Recycling contamination is a major concern,” said Danielle McClelland, manager of the city’s Zero Waste Division. The officials opined that most of these pollutants are the result of people’s unintentional errors. Whenever contaminants are discovered, the city has promised to educate the homeowner and initiate a more gentle approach than other cities.
In McClelland’s view, the education message is straightforward. “Clean, empty, and dry. We don’t want half container of peanut butter, but don’t have to make it pristine either.” When pollutants are discovered in a recycling bin three times, the authorities will confiscate the blue bin. The resident can regain the container by completing a virtual training course.
Bruce Manguson, the general manager of FCC Environmental, maintained that without recycling, there would be more landfill sites. He stated that recycling makes it possible to transform what people normally discard into something useful. Every day, the company processes 40 tons of recyclable material in an hour.
The officials have declared that their primary purpose is to educate individuals rather than punish them. Some cities, in contrast, have opted for fines and penalties to curb contamination. McClelland stated that recycling is painless and everyone should participate.