The City of Coral Gables’ recycling contamination rate is among the lowest within the county at around 8%.
During community events, the city currently takes care of household hazardous waste, paper shredding and clothing donations for residents, according to city staff. Educational tools like instructional videos are believed to be the most effective in generating better recycling habits.
Residents need to also be informed that plastic bags and Styrofoam cannot be recycled through the county, officials say.
“What I would suggest is if there’s a way to maybe work with either Publix or one of the organizations (Girl Scouts) to have a separate bin at our events to collect the plastic bags, I think that’s one thing we’re encouraging. I was surprised at the number of things that they were showing me that have the recycling logo on the bottom, but they’re not recyclable products,” said Commissioner Ariel Fernandez during Tuesday’s city commission meeting and presentation of the recycling program.
“They may be recyclable in other parts of the country,” Mr. Fernandez continued. “California, for example, has a larger ability to recycle different products, but it’s really limited here as to what we can recycle.
“I think it’s also about education. If maybe an upcoming E-News we can have a campaign on what can be recycled, maybe we can push that again,” he said. “I was surprised to learn that you can recycle pizza boxes as long as there isn’t a large amount of grease on the box. These are things that maybe we can inform residents of as well.”
Recycling is almost like a banned topic sometimes because it’s talked about so much, said Vice Mayor Rhonda Anderson, “but I don’t think it’s been talked about enough sometimes, and as far as our media: push up, push out. I know that staff is going to be getting with the newest commissioners to add them to the break box video, but I think we need an overall comprehensive video as well as dealing with what are the recyclable items.”
The videos need to be more direct and inclusive of not just breaking the cardboard box, but also the specific items that the community is going to be able to recycle, she added. “It ultimately trickles down to us because the overall cost for maintaining a dump site is going to affect us as well, because when we run out of space, it’s another how many millions to put together another dump site. We’re using space that really should be preserved for water buffer areas and drainage areas.”