Waste Management fining Attleboro for excessive non-recyclables in single-stream recycling

The city’s recycling handler recently audited single-stream recycling in the city, and found it to contain 12% non-recyclables. The limit is 10%.

By: Tim Studebaker

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ATTLEBORO, MASS. (WLNE) – Contaminated curbside recycling, containing too many non-recyclable items, costs money for companies like Waste Management to deal with.  It can even pose a safety threat to workers at recycling facilities.

Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux says, “Single use plastic bags, the kind that you get at a convenience store or the grocery store and some places, those are not recyclable.  They jam up the mechanical separators at Waste Management.  Or, bags or boxes with contents in them.  They all have to be emptied out.”

The mayor says over the years, the city’s score has improved from 33% contamination in 2018 to just 12% in a recent audit.  But, the limit in Attleboro is 10%, and since they missed that mark, Waste Management is fining the city.

Heroux says, “The strangest thing was a bra.  I don’t know why somebody thought that was recyclable.  It’s clearly not.  And the grossest thing were several diapers.”

The fine will directly impact residents, since that money will be included in the rate residents and businesses pay to recycle through the city.  The mayor says the city’s total fine from Waste Management is yet to be determined.

Heroux says, “It’s probably going to be in the hundreds or the low thousands.  It’s nothing astronomical.”

Meanwhile, he says education is the key.  With a few simple steps, the city can make it below that 10% threshold.

Heroux says, “When we give them something, it has to be clean.  You know, clean glass, clean paper, clean cardboard, clean plastic, or clean metal cans.”

The mayor says some of the items they see that should never be included in single-stream recycling are:  Styrofoam, shredded paper, dirty cans or jars, plastic bags, and aerosol cans.  Recycling rules vary depending on where you live and what company handles your recycling.  If you have questions, check with your city, town, or recycling company.

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Categories: Attleboro, News