What is recycling contamination?


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    Last week, I answered questions and complaints about the city of El Paso's recycling program. I pointed out why things like glass and pizza boxes aren't accepted for recycling and how the decision about what's recycled is made by the company that contracts with the city, Friedman Recycling.

    When items that cannot be recycled end up in recycling bins, it's called contamination. The city's environmental services department says recycling contamination is a problem because it costs Friedman Recycling time and money to sort out the trash from the recyclables. That could ultimately endanger the recycling program, because if Friedman can't make money, it'll go out of business in El Paso, likely putting an end to the local recycling program.

    The city's been trying to educate residents about the importance of reducing recycling contamination. Rick Isiais, the environmental services department spokesman, says the education effort has "shown some success" in "slightly reducing the contamination rate."

    The city's contract with Friedman Recycling runs until 2030

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