Starting Monday, Waste Connections of Washington Inc. employees will launch a yearlong program in Clark County to check recycling carts prior to curbside pickup. If plastic grocery bags, plastic food clamshells, frozen food packaging, paper towels, food-soiled cardboard, plastic wrap, block foam, shredded paper and other items are spotted, a reminder “oops” tag will be placed on the cart indicating those items.
Recycling specialists will wear safety vests or other high-visibility clothing and drive Waste Connections vehicles. They will only lift a cart’s lid, peek at its contents and note items that should not be in the cart. They will not touch or remove items. Residents who receive “oops” tags can expect to receive follow-up notifications, via email or written letter, further explaining the issue.
Josy Wright, recycle manager for Waste Connections, said her company has two employees who will focus on year-round checks. Waste Connections drivers have been leaving “oops” tags for years and will continue to do so when they see nonaccepted items in recycling carts, she said. Spot-checks will be made in neighborhoods across Clark County. Recycling specialists may return to some neighborhoods more than once.
Occasionally, recycling specialists or drivers will find a recycling cart with an excessive amount of unaccepted items or hazardous waste. In these situations, the recycling cart will not be emptied, and the customer will need to remove the unaccepted materials or request a Waste Connections garbage truck empty the cart, at an additional charge to the customer.
The program aims to provide tailored recycling feedback to residents. Waste Connections and its partners at Clark County, Vancouver and other cities also will use the program to develop education and outreach efforts to help residents recycle right.