TODAY'S QUESTION: How do you think Columbia can improve recycling?

Thursday, January 28, 2010 | 9:38 a.m. CST; updated 3:08 p.m. CST, Monday, February 1, 2010

COLUMBIA – As Columbia's population grows, the city's recycling isn't showing an increase in numbers. In fact, estimates from the Public Works Department show that only about 28 percent of the city's residents recycle.

Even those who attempt to recycle may unintentionally be collecting contaminants among their recyclables such as plastic foam and certain plastics that are unable to be processed at the Columbia recycling center. This misstep slows down workers and the facility is unable to sort the material.

The city is putting forth effort to make a change in these statistics.

A Columbia advertising agency, Pure, has been hired by the Public Works Department to improve recycling numbers with a project aimed at education and awareness of ways to recycle. The city and Pure will work together to improve both curbside recycling and recycling for apartment dwellers, and the campaign will reach out to residents through traditional media and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Along with this educational campaign, the Solid Waste Division is planning a program to utilize reusable plastic recycling bins to replace the current method of gathering recyclables — blue city-issued and non-recyclable bags. This pilot program is awaiting approval by the City Council to test out the bins with 1,800 homes on Friday recycling routes north of Interstate 70.

How else do you think Columbia can improve recycling? Should bins or bags be used for the process?

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