Poor sorting habits are contaminating Chandler’s recycling program, city officials said.
As a result, Chandler trash officials plan to increase efforts to educate residents on what goes in the blue recyclables container and what goes in the black can meant for everything else.
Chandler delivers about 2,100 tons of recyclable trash every month to Abitibi Consolidated, the contractor that pays $18 a ton for the refuse. But on average, about 17 percent of that material is contaminated with nonrecyclable trash.
“It’s not as bad as it sounds,” said Sheree Sepulveda, Chandler’s environmental program education coordinator.
Chandler actually rates No. 2 among Valley cities for having the least amount of contamination — just behind Gilbert, Sepulveda said.
But Abitibi is ready to double the education subsidy it pays to the city — from $1 to $2 a ton — if Chandler can get its contamination rate down to 15 percent.
The recycling program counts on residents properly sorting out recyclable material from their regular trash.
But too often, residents toss in things such as dirty diapers, used hygiene products and animal waste.
“We try to encourage resident to think, ‘Would I want to be sorting this stuff?’” Sepulveda said.
Abitibi sorts the recyclable material and sells it to various users. The company also has a paper division in Snowflake where the material is recycled into newsprint and corrugated cardboard.
“If those consumers each day would recycle their paper, within eight to 10 days, that paper would be back on their doorsteps,” said Rick Meek, area manager at Abitibi’s facility at 390 E. Ray Road in Chandler.