Did Your Bottle Really Get Recycled?

Photo courtesy of
‘Dumpster empty’
courtesy of ‘Hugo90’

Have you ever wondered…do those soda cans you faithfully put in the recycling bin actually make it to the recycling center? Well, if you’re in the District, folks, the chances are hit and miss.

At least according to this Washington City Paper article, which an alert friend just forwarded to me.

If you own a business in DC, you have to have a recycling program. But once the recyclables hit the bin, the haulers are in charge. And that’s where the system breaks down.

This story says 75 percent of the city’s trash and recycling comes from commercial buildings, including multi-unit apartments and condos. Private haulers carry it away — sometimes separately, sometimes mixed together and bound for the dump.

Sigh. This is nuts.

There are reasons, of course; lowering prices for recyclables and increased costs to transport it. But a District law that allows trash trucks to have up to 30% of recyclables in its load can’t help, nor can neighboring jurisdictions that will accept trash trucks filled with recyclables.

I say keep on recycling — and now let’s find ways to get these haulers on board and make recycling in the District actually work.

An area resident since 1997, Donna C. is a DC outsider. When she’s not running her writing and Web business, she’s running around the city, exploring the great outdoors, or trying to figure out how best to go green. See why she loves DC.

2 thoughts on “Did Your Bottle Really Get Recycled?

  1. I’ve often wondered about this; while I have to admit I haven’t paid as much attention as I should – it wouldn’t surprise me if the refuse haulers in my neighborhood (Palisades) just dump the contents of the recycling bins right into the same truck as standard MSW.

    Its bugged me too, for a while, that the only options that appear to be offered are glass and plastic containers and newspaper (its pretty explicit about newspaper-only, no other types of paper). With other large metropolitan areas now recycling practically all waste streams…its long past due that the District do the same.