The City of Battle Creek is starting to see some of its loads of recyclable materials rejected by Waste Management. The loads rejected by the company’s Holland processing plant for contamination are ending up in a landfill. It’s costing the city about $1,600 a truckload. The contamination determination is made when there’s too much non-recyclable material collected with the good recyclable stuff.  Examples of the contamination that lead to rejection include recyclables packed in plastic bags since plastic bags are NOT recyclable curbside. Also wet items that have dampened and rotted cardboard in the same load.

It may not seem like a big deal, but when contamination levels hit a threshold, processing plants can turn it away. When that happens, as is happening with Battle Creek right now, the truckloads of would-be recyclables get sent to a landfill. And for a very hefty price. The contaminated recyclable materials issue is big. China will accept loads of recyclables with no more than one half of one percent contamination.  Some loads from the City of Battle Creek being rejected by Waste Management are as high as 30 percent. The city is starting up an information campaign to try to get residents to pay closer attention to how they package their recyclable material for pickup.

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