The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), solid waste management districts (SWMDs), material recovery facilities (MRFs), haulers, Ohio communities and The Recycling Partnership (The Partnership)are coming together to tackle the issue of non-recyclable trash in recycling by investing in education and outreach in pilot areas around the state. Six grants have been awarded to a strategically and geographically diverse group of communities that represent four different major MRFsheds within Ohio to work with The Partnership to create the best model for replicable success statewide.

The need to improve the quality of recyclables is a high priority considering today’s national recycling market conditions with rates of non-recyclable trash in recycling streams in excess of 25 percent. This challenge is compounded by the recent restrictions by China on trash in recyclable materials that exceed 0.5 percent. “Ohio EPA and The Recycling Partnership are working in collaboration with Ohio communities, SWMDs and MRFs to develop and implement a comprehensive education and outreach strategy to decrease the amount of trash in curbside recycling programs while increasing how much Ohioans recycle,” said Jill Martin, VP of Community Programs, The Recycling Partnership. “The Partnership will provide education and outreach tools used successfully in hundreds of communities around the nation to encourage Ohioans to participate in the recycling system and recycle only the materials that should be recycled.”

“Public education is the first step to creating a cleaner, more efficient and marketable recycling stream,” Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson said. “Partnerships at the community, region and state level are essential to helping Ohioans better understand what can and cannot be recycled. We look forward to working together with The Recycling Partnership and our community partners to create an education and outreach model that will work well and can be replicated throughout the state.”

This two-year project, including grants of nearly $211,000, focuses on outreach efforts in Akron, Centerville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Fairfield and Lorain. It’s anticipated that more than 105,000 households will benefit from these efforts. Material recovery facilities including Waste Management of Akron, Republic Services of Oberlin, Rumpke of Columbus and Rumpke of Cincinnati are all participating and investing in this project.

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