Nearly a third of what Hamilton County residents are throwing away could be recycled. Another third could be composted. That's the finding of a new study from the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District.
Solid Waste Manager Michelle Balz says a contractor picked through some of the trash at the Rumpke landfill. "About 31 percent of what residents are throwing away could easily be recycled either in their curbside bin or, for example, by taking a plastic grocery bag back to the grocery store. And almost 32 percent could be easily composted," she says.
The information helps Hamilton County's Recycling and Solid Waste District gauge how good the local recycling infrastructure is. Balz says the district's mission is to reduce the amount of material that goes to the landfill. "We know that if we work hard on getting people to change behaviors and use the current infrastructure, we could be diverting 62 percent of what we're throwing away," she says.
The survey also paints a picture of whether the district's messaging is getting through. And it might be. Balz says Hamilton County residents are getting somewhat better at recycling: A 2012 survey found 41 percent of trash at the landfill was recyclable.
"We see less newspaper in the recycling stream. People are using less paper in general, almost everything is done digitally, which is great."
But she says the amount of food waste and yard waste has increased since the 2012 study.
Balz will dive into the numbers Friday at noon during a presentation to the Green Umbrella action team at the Solid Waste District headquarters at 250 William Howard Taft.