Whether you are new to the "green" scene or a master of everything sustainable, there is no doubt that when it comes to recycling there are plenty of commonly held misconceptions. Not only is there confusion among city residents, there is also false information published that tends to push people away from recycling. Here are some helpful truths from RecycleNOW Philadelphia, to debunk the myths and get you back in the recycling game:
Myth: In the city of Philadelphia, there is no penalty for not recycling.
Truth: FALSE! In Philadelphia, there is mandatory curbside recycling which is enforced by the Streets and Walkways Education and Enforcement Program (SWEEP), and those caught not recycling will be issued fines. Also, under the Nutter Administration, more SWEEP officers have been hired to make sure this enforcement is carried out, especially in regards to apartment complexes and commercial establishments. Myth debunked!
Myth: The city throws out recycling that has food waste on it
Truth: FALSE! You should always make sure to wash any recyclables before putting them in your recycling bin, but if there happens to be a little left over residue items will still get recycled. The problem with not rinsing out containers is not necessarily an issue with companies taking the recyclables, but an issue regarding the sorting process. Sometimes if food residue is still on containers, they will not be sorted properly, or they may contaminate other containers. Myth debunked!
More myths after the jump!
Myth: Recycling won’t save businesses money
Truth: FALSE! Yes, prices for recycled goods have dropped significantly but, with a well-thought out recycling plan and proper execution, recycling programs actually save money on disposal fees. According to the GrassRoots Recycling Network, large corporations like Xerox, Hewlett-Packard and Pillsbury have achieved close to 95 percent recycling rates by purchasing products with less, or reusable, packaging and by using paperless technology, which in turn, saves them money. Recycling programs are also cheaper and more eco-friendly than sending waste to the incinerator or landfills. Myth debunked!
Myth: Sanitation workers must scan your RecycleBank sticker for you to get credit
Truth: FALSE! Let us backtrack a little. When you first register for the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards program, you are given a sticker to put on your recycling bin. Now, what most people do not realize is that the sticker is a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)tag that works similar to the way an EZ-Pass would. As the recycling is collected, the tags are automatically read by a reader on the recycling truck and are therefore recorded. So, if the recycling worker does not personally scan your bin, your participation is still recorded through the reader. Myth debunked!
If you run into questionable situations in regards to recycling, here are a couple websites that can offer you more information and hopefully solve any problem you may have:
For information regarding starting a commercial recycling program: Click here.
To stay on top of the recycling laws, read this.
Also, if you have received a fine, you can contact the Philadelphia Streets Department at 215-686-5560.