Herald-Whig

Officials seek to dispell recycling rumors

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 17, 2019 6:10 pm Updated: May. 17, 2019 6:27 pm

QUINCY -- A rumor about the fate of recyclable materials was swirling even before the city's recycling program launched this month.

Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore and other city officials hope to dispel the talk.

"First, everything that we pick up in a recycling tote is taken to Quincy Recycle," Moore said. "Nothing that gets picked up is taken to the landfill by us."

Moore's statements were repeated by other city officials.

Jeff Mays, director of administrative services, said, "If they (recyclables) are in the recycling tote, then they are taken to Quincy Recycle."

Various city officials said the rumor likely originated from well-intended residents who see items leaving Quincy Recycle's facility bound for the landfill without understanding why.

Moore said, "As I've said in multiple town halls, the reason for a lot of this upheaval in the recycling industry are things that are outside of our control as the city of Quincy. I think people assume that because they have always been able to recycle cardboard, for example, that all cardboard taken to Quincy Recycle is recycled. The fact remains that countries like China are not buying recyclable material from the United States anymore, and that is drastically changing Quincy Recycle's ability to sell cardboard or other recyclable materials. I don't mean to speak for Quincy Recycle, but I would assume that if they can't find a buyer for some of those products then they are taken to the landfill."

Calls to Quincy Recycle's General Manager Kyle Venvertloh requesting comment were not returned.

The city's website said the recycling program includes newspapers, magazines, paper envelopes, cardboard, paperback books, cereal and food boxes, water and soda bottles, milk and juice jugs, detergent bottles, metal food cans, beverage cans and food containers such as a sour cream, yogurt or butter containers.

The program does not include wrapping paper, motor oil bottles, plastic bags, styrofoam, glass, electronics, light bulbs, milk cartons and disposable dinnerware.

Other city officials said items such as cardboard pizza boxes often end up in the recycling totes but are frequently not recyclable.

Quincy's Director of Central Services Kevin McClean said, "I would encourage everyone to be cognizant that sometimes things people think are recyclable are not actually recyclable." Central Services oversees the recycling program. "A pizza box is made of cardboard, but it is not recyclable if the grease from the pizza is on the cardboard. I think a lot of people assume that because it is made of cardboard that it is able to be recycled."