Ecomaine, based in Portland, Maine, said it will “continue to build on the success” of its curbside recycling education program by expanding the project to other Maine communities this summer. and this fall.
In order to provide what it calls greater public awareness of acceptable recycling materials, Ecomaine has hired staff in the two previous summer and fall seasons to examine recyclables collected from Maine communities. The program “focuses on educating residents about contamination through recycling,” says Ecomaine.
This year, the neighborhoods of South Portland, Sanford and Saco, Maine, were added to the program.
When examining carts, inspectors assess the contents of the carts, then issue green tags for acceptable recyclables in the cart or bin, yellow tags for loads containing a handful of non-recyclable items, and tags red for loads containing too many items that cannot be recycled. be recycled by Ecomaine.
The red-labeled bins are considered too contaminated and increase costs for the municipality, and taxpayers, says Ecomaine, and “therefore, they will not be picked up by the collection company”.
Labels identify items that do not belong in the recycling basket for individualized education.
“The impact of the program has grown and you can see the difference in the recycling,” says Michelle Radley, Ecomaine’s acting communications manager. “As a staff member who previously worked on bin marking, I can say that providing this education benefits the municipality, the residents and all of us.”
When Ecomaine staff ran the program previously, gains had been made in reducing contamination from impacted loads of recyclables. In one case, according to the agency, the contamination rate was reduced from more than 80% to 25%.
On average, after inspections in neighborhoods in Portland, Scarborough, South Portland, Westbrook, and Yarmouth, Maine, with data collected and analyzed weekly, green tags increased by 52%, while yellow and red tags decreased 62% and 69%. respectively, according to Ecomaine.