What Is the Program?
Waste Connections implemented the Recycling Done Right Clean Cart Program in an effort to reduce recycling contamination in Clark County. The program began in 2020 with Recycling Advocates visiting neighborhoods in Vancouver and parts of unincorporated Clark County. Beginning in May 2022, Recycling Advocates will visit neighborhoods in Ridgefield, Camas, and Yacolt and may return to some neighborhoods more than once. During this year-round program, a team of Recycling Advocates will visually inspect residential recycle carts for contamination and provide customer-specific recycling education. The goal of the program is to educate and empower our customers to generate high quality and clean recyclables through Recycling Right.
What to Expect:
- Starting as early as 6:00am, the Recycling Advocates will inspect recycle carts by lifting cart lids and noting which nonrecyclable items are observed. Team members will be easily identifiable by their Waste Connections branded, high-visibility safety gear and vehicle.
- Oops! You may notice an “Oops tag” on your cart after the Recycling Advocates have visited your neighborhood. The tag will inform you of which non-accepted items were observed in your cart. You can expect to receive a follow up notification via email or written letter further explaining the information presented on the tag.
- Our Recycling Advocates are here for you! If you see them in your neighborhood feel free to approach them with your recycling questions and concerns. They love any opportunity to interact with our customers face-to-face.
- If you did not have a chance to speak with one of our team members while they were in your neighborhood, or have questions about the “Oops” tag, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The “Oops tag” is an educational tool to provide firsthand recycling feedback to residents. The red side has pictures and detailed notes on which item(s) do not belong in your cart. The blue side provides a recycle guide and what to do in order to prevent this from happening again.
Waste Connections launched a new year-round program to help residential customers by identifying items that do not belong in recycle carts. Our recycling advocates are visiting neighborhoods across Clark County to help residents recognize problem items, encourage removal of these items from recycle carts, and create new routines to recycle right.
The program aims to help provide firsthand recycling feedback to residents, with the goal of improving recycling practices and keeping items that can’t be recycled out of the cart. The success of our region’s recycling depends heavily on everyone’s efforts to put only those items that can be accepted into the blue recycle carts. Click here for a recycle guide.
A team of recycling advocates is checking recycle carts set out for pickup. If the team spots items that should not be placed in recycle carts – plastic grocery bags, frozen food boxes or coffee cups, for example – a reminder tag will be placed on the cart. The tag tells customers what unaccepted item was seen in the cart and provides information about items that are allowed in the cart. The recycling advocates may return to some neighborhoods more than once.
The recycling advocates are Waste Connections employees who are easily identifiable; they wear high-visibility safety gear and drive a Waste Connections branded vehicle.
Recycling advocates will visit neighborhoods across the county. We are unable to predict in advance when they will be in specific neighborhoods.
Recycling advocates will visit before your recycling is picked up by the trucks. They will only lift the cart lid, peek at its contents and note items they see inside that should not be placed in the cart. They will not touch or remove items or collect identifiable information from cart contents.
Special emphasis will be made on nine items that are frequently misplaced in recycle carts:
• Shredded paper
• Hoses, chains, wires (items that can get tangled in recycling machinery)
• Clothing, textiles
• Plastic bags, wrap
• Food, food residue
• Frozen food packaging
• Block foam, foam packing peanuts
• To-go containers (example: hot and cold drink cups, take-out boxes)
• “Clamshells” plastic packaging (example: berry containers)
Some of the items above may be recyclable using other methods, they just can’t be placed in your blue recycle cart. Visit www.RecyclingA-Z.com or download the free RecycleRight app for answers to your reuse, recycling and disposal questions.
Oops! The recycling advocates discovered something that does not belong in your recycle cart. The tag should include detailed notes on what item doesn’t belong in your cart and what to do in order to prevent this from happening again.
No tag on your cart means the recycling advocates did not see any items that do not belong in your recycle cart.
Waste Connections and its partners at Clark County, Vancouver and other cities in the region will use the information learned through this program to develop education and outreach efforts to help residents recycle right. No identifiable information is gathered, so the information collected will remain anonymous. This information will not be sold.
The recycling advocates and/or recycling truck drivers occasionally encounter a recycle cart that has an excess amount of unaccepted items or hazardous waste that does not belong in your recycle cart. In this situation, the cart will not be collected and the customer will be given the option of either removing the unaccepted materials and setting the cart out the next scheduled recycling day, or having Waste Connections return with a garbage truck to collect the contaminated cart at an additional cost to the customer.
Studies have shown that putting reminder tags on recycle carts reduces items that do not belong by 20 to 40 percent. Recycling advocates are able to interact with customers at their homes and provide personal feedback, should you have any questions.