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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Hang On To Junk, Recycle Cardboard Right Away, Waste District Says


With everyone spending more time at home, we are all creating more garbage and materials that can be recycled. Solid Waste Manager Michelle Balz with the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District said some collectors are working overtime to keep up with the waste stream.

Many people have been using the time at home to clean out the basement or closets, and there are things they want to discard that could be reused by someone else.

"A lot of those donation outlets are closed right now," Balz said. "Just hang on to them, put them in a box, set them aside, those outlets will eventually reopen before we know it, and we'll be able to donate those and someone else will be able to use it rather than just putting it in your trash."

People have also been getting more deliveries in cardboard boxes.  Balz said those boxes should be recycled, and quickly.

"We actually have quite a few paper mills in Ohio who manufacturer those cardboard boxes," Balz said. "We're hearing from them that they really need the cardboard to make new cardboard boxes, so please recycle your cardboard to close that loop and make new boxes."

Balz said any plastic packaging and Styrofoam packing peanuts should be removed from the cardboard boxes before recycling. Those boxes should also be broken down before being placed in a recycling container.

Local officials have also said there are seeing more discarded masks and gloves in grocery store parking lots, and along sidewalks and roadsides. Balz said people should place those items in the trash, so someone else does not have to pick them up.

Balz said people can do a better job storing food to make it last longer. The center has suggestions on its website for storing fruits, vegetables and meats.

You can also start a compost pile in your backyard with some waste, and that could then be used for gardening.

The recycling and solid waste center is hosting webinars to help with waste reduction, and those are listed on the website.