Kristine Major, Solid Waste Education Coordinator, 509.625.6521
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 5:42 p.m.
Did you get an "Oops” tag on your recycling cart last summer?
If so, you were part of the city’s education campaign to reduce contamination in recycling carts.
Rising contamination rates leading to increased costs to handle recyclables has prompted the City of Spokane to take measures to reduce recycling contamination.
Select routes were studied and “tagged” with information for four consecutive weeks last summer, and the results were analyzed to see if the direct feedback provided by the tags as well as messaging provided through utility bill inserts and direct mailers would help reduce contamination. About 17,000 households were tagged in the city on 15 different routes. A quarter of all city residences were included in the study.
Cart tagging was just one outreach strategy that the City of Spokane used to reduce contamination in curbside recycling. A utility billing insert, a mailed postcard, educational videos, and social media posts were also part of outreach funded by The Recycling Partnership, a national non-profit working to improve recycling in the United States. Spokane was the first community in the Pacific Northwest to receive funding from TRP for cart tagging.
Study partners included the Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System and the Waste Management SMaRT Center where staff conducted pre-and post-audits to determine the percentage of contamination in recycling trucks collecting from the study routes.
Here are highlights from the final report:
What’s next in the campaign to get the trash out of Big Blue? City Solid Waste staff are looking at ways to expand cart tagging this summer while looking at better ways to educate residents on what is accepted in recycle carts.
Getting the Garbage out of Big Blue!