Featured image: "Don't forget to recycle" by James Wang is is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management office announced this week that starting Nov. 1 residents who put out recycling bins and set-outs that do not follow the county guidelines will receive rejection stickers and be left at the curb uncollected.

The county says that they hope the measure will ensure that Tompkins to produces clean, high quality recyclables with low contamination that don’t get rejected by recycling markets.

“We’d like to thank residents for doing their part to be informed about recycling and taking steps to make sure their bins can be collected,” said Seth Dennis, waste reduction and recycling specialist. “Together we can make sure recycling continues to be a success in our community.”

According to TCRMM, some of the most common mistakes residents make include putting plastic bags and film, Styrofoam electronics, and garbage in the recycling bin. Any plastic items must include a number 1, 2, or 5 recycling symbol to be accepted.

Information about what is accepted in your curbside bin can be found online and in the Curbside Recycling Guidelines for Tompkins County brochure available at the TCRMM office at 122 Commercial Avenue, as well as the RSWC public drop off, all municipal offices, food scraps drop spots, and all major grocery stores.

The Recycle Tompkins website also features a “What Do I Do With?” tool, which allows residents to search for information about how to recycle or dispose of any item.

The new rejection sticker enforcement comes after a year of the “warning” phase during which recycling set outs that received warning stickers for incorrect recycling decreased from an initial high of 720 to less than 300 per collection period.

In the event that a bin does get rejected at the curb, residents can make corrections and then either try again on their next collection day, or bring their recycling directly to the Recycling and Solid Waste Center at 160 Commercial Ave in Ithaca.

“The Department of Recycling and Materials Management would like to thank residents and the community for taking note of proper recycling and adjusting their habits accordingly,” the county said in their press release announcing the new measure.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com