EAGLE POINT-- Oregon is not expected to meet its 2020 recycling goal.
The goal is for Oregon to recover 52 percent of items thrown in the trash in that time period.
After China stopped importing recyclable items near the beginning of 2020, the companies that take your recyclable items had to change the marketplaces they sold to. Now, some of the things you used to be able to recycle are not recyclable anymore.
"The marketplace dramatically changed and the product inside that marketplace changed. So now we're trying to get to consumers to know it's more about quality than quantity. It's not how much you put in the blue cart, it's how good you put the stuff in the blue cart" said Southern Oregon Sanitation General Manager Trent Carpenter.
The best way community members can help get Oregon back on track, is to put the right items in recycle bins.
Recycling programs have lists on their websites, where customers can see what they should put in their recycling cart.
There are four categories of things that can be recycled, if you are recycling with Southern Oregon Sanitation.
Corrugated Cardboard is one of them. It is the type of cardboard that has the wavy lines in the center. If it does not have wavy lines, it can't be recycled.
Milk jug style containers are still good to be recycled. Lids must be removed before putting them in the cart. The lids should go in the trash container.
Newspapers and inserts are allowed to be recycled. Magazines do not count as newspapers in the recycling world. They should be thrown in the trash can.
The last category is tin and aluminum cans. They are still good to be recycled. Cans must be thoroughly rinsed out before going into the cart.
The reason for the rules on rinsing and cleaning, is that dirty items contaminates the other items that could be recycled. Contaminated items can't be recycled.
Southern Oregon Sanitation is doing contamination studies. The studies focus on a certain neighborhood. The company seperates out all of the materials gathered from a neighborhood. The process shows which neighborhoods are properly recycling. They are placing tags on the bins of cart owners, to let them know if they are doing good or bad.
"We are about to start our tagging program in which we will start putting tags on carts to say, hey you're doing a good job or, hey you need a little help or, hey that's all garbage you need to get this cleaned up or you're gonna lose your cart" said Carpenter.
If a customer continues to put dirty material or trash in the recycle cart, Southern Oregon Sanitation says they could lose that cart for good.