Contaminants like plastic bags and hoses in household recycling bins can kill a recycling program. Municipal recycling facilities that find these non-recyclable materials in a load of recycling may automatically declare the entire load “contaminated” and consign it to the landfill, costing the city thousands of dollars per load. That’s why auditing household recycling streams is so critical.
RUBICONView streamlines these recycling audits on a large scale. A smartphone app enables auditors to capture the location and origin of each load, take images of the material, and document occurrences of contamination. That information then automatically uploads to Rubicon’s cloud-based portal for analysis, providing a clearer view of contamination by individual recyclers and communities.
reduction in recyclables headed to landfills
total recycling participation rate over seven weeks
reduction in overall recycling contamination
increase in overall capture of quality recyclables
The seven-week Atlanta campaign covered four neighborhoods. It revealed common recycling mistakes, such as mixing food waste into recyclables, bagging recyclables instead of leaving them loose in bins, and putting plastic bags in with recyclables when they should just be reused instead. In fact, 85% of contamination issues arose from plastic bags found in the recycling stream.
In response to these findings, the team placed “Oops” tags on contaminated loads. These tags, followed by official letters from the City of Atlanta, remind residents about the best ways to separate their recycling from other waste, and how to fill their bins properly.