Recycling Tips

What can I recycle?

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Recycling Together RI Website:''ts_Final.pdf


June 29, 2015





Targets Urban Communities to Recycle Smarter; 

Stop Contamination; Save Money








Sarah Kite | Director of Recycling Services, RIRRC

401.942.1430 x 112


Krystal Noiseux | Recycling Program Manager, RIRRC

401.942.1430 x 109


JOHNSTON - The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) this week launches the 2nd phase of its anti-contamination campaign; a campaign to raise awareness and teach Rhode Islanders how to recycle smarter. The campaign’s 2nd phase launches on June 29th, 2015 and takes aim at the summer vacation and cookout season as it is a time of year where RIRRC experiences higher contamination levels in recycling loads.


“We are targeting the summer months because we see higher contamination during this time each year,” said Sarah Kite-Reeves, Director of Recycling Services for RIRRC.  “When kids are out of school, people are cooking out more, and cleaning their homes and garages of old items, this leads to more contaminated recycling and more threats to our workers. By raising awareness of this problem, and educating people on better recycling habits, it means our workers are safer and people save money-it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Discarded food scraps, yard waste, remodeling waste, hazardous waste like propane tanks, and dangerous materials such as garden hoses, used hypodermic needles, and dirty diapers are common contaminants RIRRC sees, but are escalated in the summertime.  These pose dangers to both RIRRC’s line workers and its sorting equipment at the Materials Recycling Facility.
Most recently, a fire broke out in the facility due to a small propane tank.  After the fire, workers pulled an additional 23 small, camping-size tanks off the recycling line in one day. Another worker was recently injured while cutting away improperly recycled items from the facility’s spinning screens-items like plastic bags, wires, cables, and rope. These do not belong in RI recycling bins or carts.


Highly contaminated recycling loads cost cities and towns money.  With budgets growing tighter, money earned from recycling versus spent on landfilling can make the difference for an individual’s or families’ tax bill.   While a good quality recycling load costs a city or town $0 to deliver to RIRRC, a highly contaminated load costs the city or town $250 plus $32/ton to landfill it. Since municipalities receive a share of any profits earned from the sale of its recyclables, contamination jeopardizes these profits.


There are some new items that RIRRC does want in recycling bins and carts. They will now take plastic containers up to five gallons in size (up from the previous two gallon limit), as well as pizza boxes with a little grease.  A new drop-off program for foam has also been added at RIRRC. Residents can place clean, dry foam in clear bags, and drop it off for recycling as long as food service foam containers are bagged separately from other rigid packaging foam.  Foam packing “peanuts” and spongy foam, like a “#1 Fan” finger, are not accepted, and no foam should ever go in recycling bins or carts at home.


RIRRC’s awareness and education campaign features the following materials to teach everyone how to recycle better:


  • Bi-lingual television and radio commercials
  • On-line ads on Pandora and Hulu
  • Social media pushes on RIRRC’s Facebook and Twitteraccounts
  • A bi-lingual consumer education with a printable “how-to” sheet for the refrigerator at your home or office.
  • How-To” videos explaining the recycling “rules of thumb”, exceptions to those rules, and tips on preparing your recycling correctly on RIRRC’s YouTube channel