- Three national organizations are making strong efforts to eliminate common confusions about recycling. The nonprofit Recycle Across America is launching its first national TV campaign this month to promote the organization's recycling labels in an attempt to create a nationally adopted system. The 30- and 60-second ads will star celebrities including Kristen Bell and Mark Ruffalo, who tell viewers, "Let's recycle right." Billboards and print ads are also part of the campaign.
- The nonprofit Keep America Beautiful has several fall initiatives in the works, including Recycle Bowl, a national K-12 school-based recycling competition.
- The National Waste & Recycling Association plans to ramp up its consumer education campaign, "Begin with the Bin." "Education is key," President and CEO Sharon Kneiss told USA TODAY. "Part of the reason for contamination is what I call 'aspirational recycling' — where people with the greatest intent believe, you should be able to recycle this, so the logic is, (the processors will) figure it out. It just unfortunately doesn’t work that way."
Recycling can be confusing. Does Styrofoam go in the bin? Do you have to take the caps off the plastic beverage bottles? What actually goes into single-stream recycling?
These organizations are here to answer such questions, while promoting recycling on a larger scale.
Susan Robinson, director of public affairs at Waste Management, told USA TODAY the recycling that Waste Management processes is 16% contaminated, double the average of the 8% contamination rate 10 years ago. The Environmental Research & Education Foundation has found that contamination rates on average rose from 7% in 2007 in 437 facilities to 16% in 2013 in the 97 facilities so far counted.
These campaigns can bring awareness to this growing issue. Consumers also should be aware of the specific rules in their community in order to make recycling efficient everywhere.