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Rumpke is expanding what can go in your curbside recycling

box of bags in front of a Rumpke sign
Tana Weingartner
The Hefty ReNew bags come in boxes of 20. They'll be available for purchase at area Kroger stores in November and other local retailers in the future.

Rumpke is expanding the list of items that can be recycled in your curbside bin. The recycler is joining the Hefty ReNew program to collect items Rumpke is currently unable to take on its own.

Until now, Rumpke was only able to accept certain items — among them bottles, jugs, tubs, and certain types of drink cups.

"But now we can take them all, as well as all those plastic wraps," says Molly Yeager, corporate communications manager. "We'll be able to take your Styrofoam, your plastic utensils. We will take your plastic containers, your plastic film. ...When you open a bag of frozen vegetables and you have that bag and you're like, 'What can I do with this bag?' you're now going to be able to recycle it."

The expanded recycling will require a little extra effort on your behalf, however. The items can still go in your curbside bin, but they need to be separated into a special orange Hefty ReNew bag.

RELATED: Rumpke says many disposable cups can now go into recycling bins instead of landfills

"If you're wanting to recycle these other plastics, we need you to purchase this Hefty bag and put those plastics in this Hefty bag. That way we can contain it. We can pull it off the line at the recycling facility, and we can get it to that end user that can it turn into a new and useful item."

Yeager notes the Hefty bags are themselves plastic, but they'll be recycled as well. Rumpke will pull the bags off the recycling line immediately once they arrive at the recycling center and ship them to Hefty, which works with third-party groups to turn the plastics into things like park benches.

Hefty offers this list of acceptable items. There's also a search feature on the website if you're uncertain about whether you can include a certain item in the orange bag.

Rumpke customers can get a starter kit for free. It includes an orange bag and instructions on how the ReNew program works. Those are available now. You can sign up for a free starter kit on Hefty's website.

The Hefty ReNew recycling bags will be sold in boxes of 20 at local Kroger stores starting in November. Yeager says they'll eventually be available at additional local retailers, and will retail for around $10.

Rumpke has undertaken efforts to educate customers on what items it is able to accept in curbside bins, but people continue to toss in non-accepted items. That's a problem because they tend to get stuck in the company's sorting machines and gum up the works. This program aims to give folks a new outlet for those items. Yeager says Rumpke thinks people will like — and utilize — this new program.

RELATED: Butter and yogurt tubs can now go in your curbside recycling bin

"We've done a lot of research on this. We're not the first city that has launched this, (though) we're one of the first cities that have launched this. But we've traveled to other cities that have done this, and saw that there are people who are willing to participate, and that these bags do stay intact and keep these these items intact so that the sorting works," she says.

The program is available to customers in eight Tri-State counties:

  • Ohio: Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Warren
  • Indiana: Dearborn
  • Kentucky: Boone, Campbell, Kenton

The bags can also go in Rumpke's recycling drop box locations.

In other recycling news

The Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub is now accepting something people have been asking for for a long time: #1 plastics.

"It's the moment you've all been waiting for... It's time to recycle those #1s!!!," the organization says in an email. "We've got electricity, we've got a baler, and now we're ready for your #1 PET and #1 PETE items!"

RELATED: On America Recycles Day, don't forget the other Rs: reduce and reuse

That means those plastic clam shell containers that fruit or your carry out dinner comes in (among other things) can now be recycled at the Hub's location on Evans Street.

The Hub offers these guidelines for #1s:

  • No bottles and no cups can be accepted in this collection, but you can recycle those items with curbside recycling. 
  • All colors accepted: While most containers collected will be clam shells, we can also accept packaging as long as it is properly marked. For example, a container that has a hard #1 bottom (like a salad mix or container for tomatoes) would be accepted. The flexible film pull off top could go in our flexible film collection, but the absorbent pads that are often in the bottom must be discarded in trash as it cannot be recycled. 
  • Items must be marked with #1 PET or #1 PETE. If you are unsure bring those items in a separate bag to put into our "No #" bin or ask a volunteer for clarification. Please do not make a best guess on items for the #1 collection.
  • Clean & Dry: All items recycled at the Hub must be clean and dry and #1s are no exception. We cannot have any contaminates as they compromise the collections.
Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.