With more people working from home and shopping online, curbside recycling carts have never been fuller. Both Sacramento County and the city of Sacramento have seen 15 percent uptick in the amount of curbside recyclables collected in April.
But too often, what ends up in the bin doesn’t belong there.
To reduce cart contamination, Sacramento County is partnering with the cities of Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and Galt on an educational campaign to make sure curbside recyclables stay recyclable… and out of the landfill.
Starting in June, the campaign will launch the website www.sortsmart.org
, which will connect residents with information specific to their own city or county guidelines. Differences between what items are and are not accepted across jurisdictions come down to the recycling processor.
The outreach effort takes aim at the most common boos-boos in all jurisdictions:
- Empty and Dry. Prevent contamination from food-soiled items by making sure that recyclables are empty and dry. Garbage and containers filled with food make the cart unacceptable for recycling. A quick shake or a wipe with a spatula or towel will do the trick.
- Sort Smart. While throwing items in the garbage should be a last resort, there are some items that are not accepted in the recycling cart. Cartons, shredded paper, and greasy pizza boxes cannot be processed by recycling facilities. Check the Sort Smart website to see what is acceptable where you live.
- Keep it Loose – No Bags. Once you’ve properly sorted out your recyclables, place them directly in the recycle bin. Please do not bag them. Bagged items are treated like garbage and end up in the landfill. Residents are encouraged to reuse plastic bags, bubble wrap, resealable plastic bags and other film plastics, then put in the garbage cart when they are no longer useful.
“Recycling is important for our environment, but only if we sort smart and recycle right,” said Doug Sloan, director of Sacramento County Waste Management and Recycling. “The county and the cities face similar challenges so it makes sense for us to join together to make sure we can continue to divert materials from the landfill, supply raw materials to industry, and contribute to a greener future.”