curbside recycling bins
Photo courtesy Dreamstime

SWANA releases report on reducing contamination in curbside recycling programs

The association says the report is free for SWANA members.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, recently released its Applied Research Foundation (ARF) report addressing the increase in contamination in curbside recycling programs and the effect on costs and safety at material recovery facilities (MRFs).

The "Reducing Contamination in Curbside Recycling Programs" report identifies and addresses the key reasons why residents place contaminants in their recycling bins. The association says understanding what causes these recycling behaviors should enable recycling and sustainability program managers to develop and implement more effective anti-contamination programs that address the underlying reasons for curbside recycling contamination. 

The report also looks at local governments that have implemented cart inspection and tagging options to reduce contamination. It examines what these communities are doing to increase public awareness and what they do to enforce rules for noncompliant households. 

According to a news release from SWANA, the full report is currently only available to SWANA ARF subscribers and members. The general public will receive free access to the ARF industry report in 2022.

“We are pleased to make this important ARF report available to all SWANA members. It provides useful and actionable information to recycling managers throughout the United States and Canada that can be used to reduce contamination and program costs,” says David Biderman, SWANA’s executive director and CEO. “We hope local governments and companies take full advantage of the insights and analysis in the report and join the ARF to help guide our future research efforts.”