By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Recycle the right way
Recycling - pizza box.jpg
Leaving pizza crust inside the box and then trying to recycle the cardboard is the wrong approach and can contaminate an entire load, according to Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts.

Many people who think they are recycling are actually causing more harm than they realize. 

Warren County Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts says he faces contamination issues daily because people are not properly recycling. 

“The problem that I see on a daily basis is contamination in everything,” said Roberts. “A lot of people will not take the time to take out the materials from the cardboard boxes. If you buy a TV and it is full of Styrofoam and plastic, they will pull the TV out and put the Styrofoam right back in the box and throw it in the cardboard and they think that is OK, but that is not OK. That ruins the whole load. That contaminates the whole load. That is the issue we see and my site operators all around the county, they fight that fight daily and they see that daily.”

The county has a deal with Coffee County Recycling where our recycling is accepted as long as it’s not contaminated. Another issue the Sanitation Department faces is people dumping their household trash in designated recycling bins.

“We catch that right off the bat of course because my site operators are there and that is there job and they patrol that. It is a daily basis. They pull up at a center and they will go to throw a bag of trash in a bin because the other bin might have two cars beside it and they’ll just go over to the cardboard bin to throw their trash away and drive off,” said Roberts.

When this happens, they will tell the person that the bin is for recycling. Roberts says Sanitation Department employees do a great job catching this and it takes everyone working together in order to recycle 100%.

“My employees do a wonderful job at patrolling the cardboard and really that is one reason why we can still recycle what we do recycle in the county. If it wasn’t for them watching every bin at every minute, we couldn’t recycle,” said Roberts.

Roberts added there are also many citizens who do things correctly.

“We have a lot of good Warren County citizens who do it correctly, don’t get me wrong,” said Roberts. “There are a lot of people I run into on a daily basis that have got their cardboard clean as a pin, their aluminum cans clean in a separate bin and they are going around to each bin dumping them, so it is not everyone.”

The best thing to do when wanting to recycle is to educate yourself. A lot of people are unaware they are contaminating loads of material to be recycled.

“We try to educate the public, and my guys really got out there and they worked hard to make sure the cardboard was not contaminated,” said Roberts. “If you are going to recycle make sure you are educated on recycling and that you know the correct way. That’s the biggest thing. Really and truly, you are better off to not recycle if you don’t know how to recycle. You are just hurting everybody else who is doing it the right way because you have just contaminated that whole load.”