The Newport News recycling program does not require residents
to separate paper, plastic, and glass items. The process is called single stream or commingled recycling. It has been a wonderful convenience to residents and has helped to preserve valuable landfill space; however, recent studies in Newport News have shown a spike in the number of items that are put into the recycle that are not recyclable and are considered “contamination.”
To help prevent this there are several items residents should avoid putting in curbside recycling: plastic grocery bags, styrofoam, rigid plastics (toys, car parts), dog leashes, garden hoses, clothing, diapers (infant, child and adult), food contaminated paper/cardboard, egg cartons and wax coated cardboard (milk and juice cartons).
Recycling these items creates problems for material recovery facilities and processors locally and nationwide. Misplaced materials can cause equipment to
jam and create a hazard for personnel working in the recovery facility. For example, plastic grocery bags can shut down a facility for up to two hours per day because they have to be cut out of the gears and moving parts of the machinery. This causes a major cost to the processors and other organizations that recycle.
To learn more about avoiding contamination in recycling visit www.askhrgreen.org
to download information on what can go into your recycling container. Organizations and individuals in Newport News can request to have their recycling practices reviewed by contacting the Department of Public Works at 757-886-7612.