City working with Republic Services to resolve local recycling issue

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The City of Greencastle is currently working with Republic Services to resolve several recycling issues. Recently, Republic’s recycling center has rejected a majority of loads from Greencastle due to contaminated or unacceptable items in the recycling toters.

Republic reviewed the contents of recycling toters in Greencastle and found many unacceptable items were routinely being placed in the toters. As a result, Republic has been removing recycling toters that may contain items, such as trash, that are not recyclable.

After consultation with the city, Republic has agreed to pause removal of toters. Residents who have recycling pick-up the week of Jan. 13 will be delayed until Jan. 27. The delay will allow residents to check their toters for any materials that cannot be recycled.

Carpet padding, a furnace filter and trash contaminate recycling load.
Courtesy photo

Residents who have toters picked up the week of Jan. 20 are asked to carefully review the materials included for recycling.

The city is currently working with Republic on a system to return toters to citizens that wish to continue their recycling efforts.

Recycling toters are not a second trash container and are to be used for acceptable items that can be recycled within Republic’s system. While participating in recycling efforts is voluntary, the service is included in the monthly trash removal fee whether one participates in recycling or not.

Coat hangers and trash contaminate another recycling load.
Courtesy photo

The current recycling environment has created the following rule of thumb, “when in doubt, throw it out,” which means, place the item in your regular trash toter, not the recycling toter.

All materials placed in a recycling toter should be rinsed, clean, and should not be soiled so as to be unusable. In many cases, an item may have a recycling mark but may not be able to be recycled in Republic’s system.

On Jan. 7, Republic provided new information on items that can be recycled as detailed below. Please review this information carefully:

Newspapers, colored and white paper, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, paper bags and phone books. Do not include shredded paper.
Lightweight cardboard – such as cereal boxes. Do not recycle wax or plastic coated cardboard food containers.
Corrugated cardboard – please break down the boxes. Do not recycle pizza boxes or other boxes that are contaminated with grease or food.
Glass containers – empty and rinsed.
Aluminum, steel and tin cans – Beverage, cat food, soup, coffee cans, food trays, clean aluminum foil, etc., empty and rinsed.
Plastic containers:
oNo. 1 – PET or PETE including soda bottles, water bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars and medicine containers. No microwave trays.
oNo. 2 – HDPE including laundry and dish detergent containers, milk bottles, butter & margarine tubs, shampoo and conditioner bottles.
oNo. 5 – PP including yogurt tubs, orange prescription medicine containers and other food containers.

The following plastic items are NOT recyclable:

oNo. 2 – HDPE grocery bags, plastic bags, bubble wrap and plastic films.
oNo. 3 – All PVC including some containers, shower curtains or plastic films.
oNo. 4 – LDPE including CD and DVD cases, liquid and food containers, grocery bags, plastic bags and plastic films.
oNo. 6 – Styrofoam/PS including hard plastic cups, hard plastic containers, disposable cutlery and all Styrofoam/foam containers and cups – is not recyclable at this time – place in your regular trash.
oNo. 7 – OTHER including clear polycarbonate water bottles.

In addition to the plastic items listed above, the following items are UNACCEPTABLE, cannot be recycled, and should be placed in your regular trash:

Items bagged in a plastic bag.
Items smaller than the size of a credit card.
Cardboard milk and juice cartons and other aseptic cartons such as juice boxes, soy milk and soup cartons.
Yard waste should not be placed in your recycling bin.
Styrofoam containers including packing materials, packing peanuts, cups, clamshell food containers, meat trays, egg trays and other items. Any foam type of item with a No. 6 recycling number.
Pizza boxes that contain any food or grease residue.
Food or any liquids.
Any plastic film including plastic grocery bags, food bags, dry cleaning bags, bubble wrap, Saran Wrap, etc. Plastic grocery bags can be recycled at Kroger and Walmart.
Plastics containers with Nos. 3, 4, 6, and 7.
Mirrors, window or auto glass, light bulbs, LEDs and ceramics.
Oil or antifreeze containers.
Wax-coated cardboard food boxes.
Coat hangers or other metal non-food items.
Paint cans – Oil-based paint can be taken to Tox-Away Days.
Aerosol cans.
Medical waste/sharps – needles and syringes.
Electronics can be taken to Tox-Away Days.
Tires can be taken to Tox-Away Days.
Large plastic toys – although the toy may have a recycling symbol, the sorting equipment cannot handle large items.
Fluorescent light bulbs can be taken to Tox-Away Days.
Any acceptable material that is no longer acceptable due to its coming in contact with or being contaminated by unacceptable material.

Please note that the following items can be taken to local Tox-Away Days:

Paint cans – Oil-based paint
Fluorescent tubes and light bulbs

* * *


The Banner Graphic has received several reports from Greencastle residents that their recycling toters have been picked up by the city’s contracted trash haulers, Republic Services the past two days.

The basic issue is reportedly that several residents have been putting trash in their recycling bins. Reportedly finding those situations as repeat offenders, Republic has taken back its recycling toters in several areas of the city.

The situation occurred in and around Anderson Street Tuesday and Wednesday morning was reported also occurring on Sunset Drive.

Mayor Bill Dory said his office has been in contact with Republic several times the past two days. He was expected to release more information about the situation later today.

Until then, the mayor noted, the basic issue remains that people put trash – wood, furniture pieces, pizza boxes, soiled diapers, etc. – into the recycling toters.

Then when the recycling products are taken to the recycling center, Republic can be fined for bringing in “dirty recyclables”or the entire load rejected because of unwanted items.

Earlier this year it was reported that Republic was auditing what people were putting in the recycling tote and leaving the toter at the curb with a note about the issue.

However, residents whose recycling totes have been reclaimed by Republic say they were never informed that this latest measure might occur.

To be updated when more information is available.

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  • how exactly are pizza boxes NOT recyclable? they are cardboard!

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 11:15 AM
  • We have not put trash in our bin ever and it was taken. I guess we'll just stop recycling and burn all our paper from now on.

    -- Posted by Ben Dover on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 11:53 AM
  • Greasy cardboard, i.e. pizza boxes, are not recyclable.

    -- Posted by VolunteerFF on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 12:24 PM
  • I see a big press conference coming. Get the city attorney on this. That is in her job scope

    -- Posted by keepyaguessing on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 12:33 PM
  • It takes five minutes to look up what is and is not recyclable, yet people continue to put trash in the bins and especially in the large roll off dumpsters in rural areas.

    -- Posted by techphcy on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 1:27 PM
  • I have today spoke on the phone with customer service at Republic and according to her supervisor we can now put broken down cardboard in our trash containers as long as the lid closes properly. I’m wondering how long it will be before our trash isn’t picked up for reasons of loose items being placed in them.

    Also since our recycle containers are now gone, will a portion of our City Utility bill go down?

    -- Posted by WONDER on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 2:28 PM
  • Only recently I found the Republic didn't want styrofoam recycled, while it is recyclable it apparently isn't cost effective. I also have been guilty of pizza boxes.

    -- Posted by BHS1967 on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 2:34 PM
  • I've heard different stories from different people...Republic doesn't want your recycles bagged because the bags clog the conveyer....I put all my recycles into bags so that they don't blow out all over the neighborhood....and...the bags themselves are recyclable....

    -- Posted by lindsayrahnae on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 4:26 PM
  • Mine was taken but I haven’t put my recycling toter out for several months so it’s hard for me to believe the driver got out yesterday to check its contents. Therefore, I didn’t receive any notice on the contents in my recycling toter being unacceptable. It’s a bad representation on how Republic handles situations as these. I think those in charge of the bid to keep this in mind moving forward. Also, those who had their toter removed, will their trash bill be pro-rated?

    Is the current Republic contract available for the public to read? If so, can someone provide a link because I would like to read it.

    -- Posted by noblesk on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 7:37 PM
  • Those are not the rules they gave us up front. It said all plastic. They keep changing their mind on glass several times. The rules said nothing about greasy boxes. A little communication from Republic would have been nice. Actually, the problem is that recycling centers are being very picky because we have more "recyclables" than capacity to process.

    -- Posted by scottdaledunbar on Wed, Jan 8, 2020, at 7:48 PM
  • Republic only wants items that they can sell to recyclers to make a profit. When the payback per ton drops, such as was the case with glass recently, Republic suspends collecting these items. There was no note on my recently removed container. Ever. Out and full Monday, gone Tuesday. I’m over it. Everything to the trash from now on. Maybe the fire pit will get more use when I burn my junk mail and cardboard.

    -- Posted by Vernie1 on Thu, Jan 9, 2020, at 11:32 AM
  • It seems absurd that we can no longer recycle things like Starbucks coffee cups or cardboard pizza containers because there might be "food residue" on them. Should every piece of trash be pristine for Republic? Maybe it's time to look into other recycle companies.

    -- Posted by mgseamanjr on Thu, Jan 9, 2020, at 1:41 PM
  • Recycling is not a profitable endeavor. It’s nearly always subsidized by taxes or trash bills. If you want more materials recycled, you’ll have to pay for it somehow. Are you prepared to pay for it?

    -- Posted by techphcy on Thu, Jan 9, 2020, at 3:30 PM
  • I am curious , are they getting out and sorting thru the Yellow Topped recycle containers or is there cameras inside the truck? I haven't seen our driver get out of the truck.

    -- Posted by BHS1967 on Thu, Jan 9, 2020, at 3:37 PM
  • Yes, BHS1967, they were initially digging through. I watched them the second time on our street last week after they got called out by us for not taking our recycling and telling us there were several things in there that we definitely did not have in there. But they are not being honest about it. The guy dug all the way to bottom of ours and obviously only found cardboard and cans and couldn't deny the load a second time. As stated by commenters above, that tactic is apparently taking too long so they're just taking the totes en masse now.

    -- Posted by honeyroastedpeanuts on Thu, Jan 9, 2020, at 10:51 PM

    I just found out from my renter that the recycle bin was REMOVED this week (Jan 8) with no previous notice or warning!

    Why doesn't the City place a printed list (similar to the one in this article) in with the utility bills on a semi-annual basis so everyone can be informed and reminded?

    How are new residents informed of Republics service and what is acceptable recyclables? Everyone doesn't subscribe to B-G where this list is printed.

    -- Posted by Lookout on Fri, Jan 10, 2020, at 11:03 AM
  • My lovely wife has a coworker whose husband has been employed by Republic for many years. Her husband told her that the whole recycling thing is a sham as all the material collected winds up being landfilled and not recycled as people assume. Republic sucks and should not have their contract renewed when due.

    -- Posted by Vernie1 on Fri, Jan 10, 2020, at 5:20 PM
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