BALTIMORE — Starting Tuesday Baltimore City Department of Public Works will launch what it calls the Feet on the Street recycling campaign.
It's an effort to educate residents about what items to keep out of their recycling containers. Those items include plastic bags, films and wraps.
The campaign will take place over the next two months. DPW says sanitation workers will check and tag recycling containers in neighborhoods where collection crews have observed high contamination.
“Now more than ever, recycling right is essential to the operation of DPW’s recycling collection program,” said DPW Director Jason W. Mitchell. “Residents knowing what does and does not belong in containers will help to reduce the City’s rate of recycling contamination and maximize the effectiveness of the City’s distribution of residential recycling carts and shift to bi-weekly recycling collections.”
When collection crews observe something in a recycling cart that does not belong, they will place an “Oops” tag on the container. The informational “Oops” tag will give residents instant feedback, reminding them to keep out plastic bags, food-covered items, paper towels/napkins, carry out containers, and tanglers (i.e., garden hoses, wires, electrical cords). Plastic-bagged recyclables account for most of the City's recycling contaminants.
WMAR-2 News asked DPW if it plans to cite or fine repeat offenders. A department spokesperson couldn't say directly but said similar programs have worked in other portions of the country.
According to DPW the biggest recycling contamination challenge for Baltimore is disposing of plastic bags. These contaminated items increase the City’s recycling processing costs and can cause equipment jams at recycling processing facilities, creating hazards for recycling facility workers.