Most recycled material in STL City is not being recycled
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - City officials say roughly 70 percent of recycled material in the city isn’t properly being recycled, partly because it’s being tainted with items that cannot be recycled.
In the Hill, longtime alderman Joe Vollmer recycles waste from his restaurant Milo’s Bocce Garden privately, but says the bins are often tainted with other people’s recyclables. He says recycling is a hot topic at City Hall, where leaders are brainstorming solutions to fix the city’s recycling problem.
The City paused recycling operations during the pandemic, citing staffing shortages. During that time, recycling bins were all put into the trash, even though residents were still paying fees. Recycling has been back in city alleyways for almost a year.
“Maybe a third of what gets picked up is actually processed,” Vollmer said. “You have to take the time to rinse out your milk containers. Rinse out your bottles, and people aren’t doing that.”
Vollmer says a possible fix is an opt-in-only program. City spokesperson Nick Dunne says they are focusing on more awareness operations through organizations like Brightside, which advocate for cleanup and recycling programs.
Elysia Russell with Brightside says they are looking to use increased funding to put new recycling stickers on bins and send out mailers about what can and can’t be placed inside. They are also offering free recycling bins to residents with the same info.
“Use your blue bin for recyclables,” Russell said. “All of the stickers will be color coordinated. It’s just so we have that visual connection.”
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