- Cincinnati has partnered with Ohio-based Simple Recycling to offer free curbside collection of textiles and other household items, as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Starting on March 20, residents can place these items on the curb in special orange bags. Simple Recycling will pay the city one cent for each pound of material collected and estimates this could result in $20,000 of revenue per year.
- While the city estimates this could divert at least 1,000 pounds of material from landfills each year, local nonprofits are concerned that they'll be losing out on valuable material.
Simple Recycling currently works in multiple states and recently faced similar questions after starting a program in Austin. Some local nonprofits in the Texas city pushed back using stronger language, saying this would cost them thousands of dollars and asking for the contract to be terminated. Both in Austin and Cincinnati, city officials have encouraged residents to prioritize donations to these local nonprofits before placing their items on the curb.
While officials in Cincinnati maintain that the Simple Recycling program actually led to more donations in nearby cities Akron and Lansing, it may be hard to track these effects. Increased awareness of the potential to recycle or reuse textiles and other items could inspire some residents to donate, though the convenience of placing a bag on the curb might also win out.
Like many cities, Cincinnati has seen progress on its recycling rate but is looking for new ways to improve. Though not directly attributable to city residents, multiple fires from improper items at Rumpke's material recovery facility show that more recycling education is needed in the region. Last summer, Cincinnati teamed up with data analytics company Zerocycle for a neighborhood-focused look at recycling activity and local officials have also been encouraging litter awareness through social media.