When in doubt, throw it out

Elyria, Ohio – In the state of Ohio communities (political subdivisions) are offered an incentive program to encourage them to increase the tonnage of recyclables they recycle on an annual basis. The county administers the program and for 2021 Lorain County can receive a maximum of $450,000 to be distributed to communities meeting the state standards. 

Many communities experience a high contamination rate reducing the amount of their reimbursement so Solid Waste Management District Director Blevin is looking into implementing a variety of programs in an attempt to reduce that contamination rate. He wants to begin by targeting multi-family dwellings in Lorain and Elyria.

A slogan they hope will stick in residents’ minds is

            ”When in doubt, throw it out.”

 meaning when in doubt about a particular item as to whether it can be recycled or not, place the item in the regular

trash rather than the recycle bin. This is significant because if a non-recyclable item is placed in an individual recycle bin and that bin is dumped into a recycle dump truck, the whole load is contaminated and everything in that truck has to be dumped in the land fill. That ends costing the city a much higher trash rate. For example in Elyria the cost per ton of regular trash is three times that of recyclables.

It is important to know some common non-recyclable items are greasy pizza boxes, light bulbs, Christmas lights, and hoses.

Some of the programs planned to educate the public are:

  1. Use social media 
  2. During the first week of June
    • a mailing is scheduled to go out in Lorain and
    • an insert will be printed in the North Ridgeville Review
    • Both the mailing and the insert will include a list of recyclables as well as images of the items. The idea being images will be easier to remember than just a straight list of items.
  3. Place signage on recycle bins

a.)This is an option on community bins

b.) Single resident bins are owned by garbage haulers so the county would first need to get the approval from the companies

    4.) Place more recycle bins near multi-family facilities

    5.) Implement an opt in program so that those residents who do choose to participate will be more careful in placing only recyclables in the bins

Both before and after these various programs have been implemented the district will be surveying the multi-family recycle bins to determine the effect of their programs.

Commissioner Lundy complimented Director Blevin for addressing this problem because he said he has seen the amounts of the grants going to the cities decreasing over the years due to the high contamination rate.

During the pandemic the Solid Waste facility on Abbe Road  has only been opened two days a week (Wednesday and Saturday) but starting July 12, they will add a third day (Monday).

The Abbe Road facility only accepts automobile tires for recycling, but as of September 2, 2021 they will be restarting an Agriculture Tire Roundup. It is an expensive program for the county–$40,000 for 2021, but in 2022 they hope to be able to get a grant from the state to cover at least some of the cost. 

(Note: This is a report about the May 26, 2021 Lorain County Commissioners Meeting.)