Recycling processing costs have dramatically increased throughout the country in large part due to lower demand from international markets. As a result, the City of Lake Forest began a recycling education campaign aligned with their Strategic Initiative for Environmental Sustainability. To decrease contaminated waste and recycling processing costs, they launched the Rethink Recycling campaign and dedicated two interns to do curbside recycling spot checks.
MGP collaborated with the interns to develop the audit form and collection technology. The interns used the audit to report on what percentage of items could not be recycled and used door tags to inform residents about these items. Report summaries from the audits are broken down by ward and indicate what actions to take next and where. Because of the resulting reduction in contaminated recycling, the recycling processor reduced their charge for contaminants from 25% to 5%. The city’s efforts demonstrate that playing offense and being proactive will get your community the results they seek.