Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation releases composite study

Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation releases composite study

The study was commissioned to more accurately determine the amount of contamination in the recycled materials being collected.

The Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation has commissioned its first study to more accurately determine the amount of contamination in the recycled materials being collected. Tim Townsend and the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida (UF) conducted the research on the current and historic composition of recycled materials at materials recovery facilities’ (MRFs) and amount of contamination.

The research focused on studying the types and weights of valuable materials and contamination handled at the facilities. The data were used to quantify historic contamination rates, which are defined in the study as the percent of total inbound weight that was ultimately landfilled.

The study found that on a historic average weight basis, the overall contamination rate is 25 percent for all MRFs, 27 percent for single-stream MRFs and 18 percent for dual-stream MRFs.

“In the last few years we have seen a gradual increase in the contamination rate and anticipate that more attention will be needed to maintain the cleanest recyclables stream,” says Townsend in a news release.

Kim Brunson, Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation chair, says, “Increasing the collection of more valuable recyclable materials is the top priority. Our goal, as a foundation, is to increase participation in recycling the right things and reducing the use of recycling bins for things that belong in a garbage can. The UF study has developed a baseline of how much nonrecyclable materials are going to the MRFs. Hopefully with education and positive messaging, we can change consumer habits so that only proper recyclables are placed in recycle bins in order to reduce the amount of contamination going to MRFs.”

The foundation says it plans to use the information provided in the study to demonstrate how important it is to place the correct items in the recycling bin.