The city of The Colony is increasing its educational efforts on the proper ways to recycle.
Molly Owczar, director of customer services for the city, updated the City Council on Tuesday of efforts that are taking place now and will continue in 2021.
She said the city is placing educational stickers on recycle carts to inform residents of what can go into those bins to be recycled.
The general rule of thumb is “empty, clean and dry” and “don’t bag it.”
“It has already generated a positive buzz amongst our residents, calling saying, ‘We had no idea these are the only things that can go in there,’” Owczar said.
Owczar said an example of items people were unaware couldn’t go in the bins are grocery store plastic bags.
“So already in a week and a half it’s been educational greatness in my opinion,” Owczar said.
She said the city has also put information about the importance of keeping the carts 3 feet apart and away from other objects. She said many people are leaving the carts next to fences and gas meters.
“That leaves a lot of opportunities for the arms of the waste trucks to damage those things,” Owczar said. “So this is an awesome, awesome first step in our educational efforts, and I’m really, really pleased that these are already getting deployed.”
Owczar said the city has posted information on the city’s website under “utility” and “trash and recycling” that discuss things such as what can be included in bulk pickup, household hazardous waste, when green and bulk pickup dates are, holiday hours, contact information and more. She said the brochure is also available at City Hall.
Going forward Owczar said the city is also going to begin a recycle pilot audit program. She said specific routes will be selected and an audit will take place regarding their recycle contamination.
Owcar said that will be followed by a specific recycling education program that will last three to four months. Another audit will take place to see how effective the efforts were.
“And if the results are positive that will be an opportunity to have the discussion about rolling it out to the rest of the city,” Owcar said.
Owczar said the city is also creating a magnet to be sent to residents in the first quarter of the year. She said it has been simplified from the current magnet and includes information about when, where and what to recycle.
She said all of these efforts are designed to get the recycling contamination levels down.
Owcar said in the fourth quarter of 2019 the city conducted an audit and found that it had a contamination level of 22 percent.
“Not too bad, but what we would like to do is get down to 15 percent by the end of 2021,” Owcar said, “and then down to 10 percent by the end of 2022.”
Mayor Joe McCourry said he is happy with how the city’s efforts have already gone, noting that many cities are around 30 percent contamination.
“The fact that we’re 8 percent under that is awesome,” McCourry said. “It goes to how well they have listened, and they do read the things we send to them.”
In addition to recycling education, the city is also assessing its blue polycarts. She said the old Allied Waste carts or those that are damaged will be replaced in the first quarter of 2021. The Allied Waste or damaged green carts will be replaced immediately.