Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. (RIRRC) has launched a "Let's Recycle Right" campaign this week aimed at reducing contamination in the state’s recycling stream.
It’s the latest in a string of efforts by the group to decrease contamination and increase diversion from landfill.
On July 1, RIRRC raised its tipping fees at the state’s central landfill for the first time since 1992. The fee was raised from $32 a ton to $39.50 a ton and will increase again to $47 a ton in July 2018.
In 2014, representatives from Rhode Island Resource Recovery instituted a $250 fine for those who had contaminated bins in an effort to help reduce contamination. And in 2016, the state became the first state to adopt Recycle Across America’s simple standardized recycling labels, which are designed to reduce confusion and help boost recycling rates.
But those efforts have been enough as earlier this spring it was still reporting high contamination levels.
One response to this was in May the group removed shredded paper from the state’s mixed recycling program.
Also earlier this summer, the agency announced the selection of Joseph Reposa as its new executive director.
NPR has more about the group’s latest campaign:
Rhode Island Resource Recovery will be reinforcing what's accepted in Rhode Island's mixed-recycling program through radio, billboard and social media advertisements from now until November 30. Last month, the agency also mailed bilingual recycling guidelines to 390,000 homes across the state.
Katherine Hypolite, spokeswoman for Rhode Island Resource Recovery, said this campaign is necessary because the state's recycling facility is seeing a lot of trash mixed in with recyclables, which impacts the environment.
"That (recyclable) material (in the contaminated recycling loads), instead of going into the recycling system and being turned into a new product somewhere down the line, it ends up going straight to the landfill,” Hypolite said.
Contaminated loads also put workers in the facility at risk of injury and cost towns and cities money, as they are fined for the loads that have to go to the landfill.