What happens when trash that is not recyclable is placed in the recycle bin (whether on accident or ignorance)? We use Republic. Does that mean all the recycled stuff gets tossed in the trash – or is someone at Republic sorting through and separating the recyclable stuff from the stuff that is not supposed to be there?
Once upon a time when recycling wasn’t such a refined process, a non-recyclable item mixed with recyclable items could contaminate the entire batch. Now, companies like Republic have a system that prevents such waste and makes the process much easier for us as consumers.
Republic has two Materials Recovery Facilities, or MRFs (pronounced “merf” in the biz), in Indianapolis where all residential recycling goes. There, they hand sort all materials. That means if someone tosses trash in your recycling bin when it’s at the curb or if you accidently include something that’s not recyclable, it will be removed before being baled and sent off for recycling. This DOES NOT mean that you should just put everything in the recycling bin and let them do all the work, though. If a particular household tends to have more trash than recyclable materials in their bin, their account will be flagged and they will be notified. Don’t be that guy.
For more details about Republic’s MRFs, visit their website where you can find interesting facts and figures about recycling in Indianapolis. If you live outside of Indianapolis, you’ll want to check with your recycler to find out how they handle sorting.