Broome County wants residents to make some changes to how they handle their recycling.

The county’s Solid Waste Division is making the pitch in response to recent complaints about items being left at the curbside by haulers.

Today, we visited Southern Tier Recycling, a division of Taylor Garbage, one of the local facilities where materials ae sorted, largely by hand.   

Historically a large portion of that paper and plastic has been sold to China. 

However. in recent years, the amount of contamination in the materials coming from the U-S has increased, and China has created stricter standards for what they will accept.

Items such as plastic bags, Styrofoam and leftover food that are combined with legitimate recyclables can cause the entire bundle to be rejected.

Broome County Director of Solid Waste Debra Smith says for the most part people do a great job with the recycling program but there are simple ways to improve efficiency. 

Debra Smith Director of Solid Waste says “Where recycling a few years ago was generating revenue for some municipalities. Now they are paying a processing fee to have that material processed and separated. That’s where there’s a possible effect on residents themselves. They might not see it directly it might be through their local taxes or if they’re subscribing to a private hauler.”

The stricter standards have forced facilities to do more thorough checks on the sorting line for contaminated materials resulting in increased costs.

And haulers have not been picking up certain items, especially when they’re soiled or wrapped in plastic grocery bags.

Bob Taylor from Southern Tier Recycling says the more selective standards have resulted in the decrease from 30 tons of garbage a week mixed in with the recyclables that they would have to take to the dump down to less than 10 tons a week. 

For a full list of what materials are accepted visit Go Broome County dot com slash solid waste. 

And please remember to rinse out your food containers.