Southern Oregon No. 1 for recyclables in the landfill

White City, Ore. — Ever since China announced its restrictions on recyclables it will accept from the United States, the amount of recyclable items going in the landfill is sky-high. According to one of the DEQ’s most recent reports, one of the leading areas to dump recyclables is right here in the Rogue Valley. According to the DEQ, Rogue Disposal and Recycling tops the list in the state, Contributing more than 6.7 million pounds of recyclables in the trash, since October. It’s followed by Rogue Materials Recovery and Southern Oregon Sanitation Inc.

“We saw the writing on the wall. When china announced – china is by far, the hugest marketplace for recyclables – has been for a decade,” said Laura Leebrick, Rogue Disposal and Recycling.

Last fall, when China announced its changes, Rogue Disposal had to make some of its own.

“The reason the costs are going up for a lot of people of recycling, is because someone at some point along the line has to clean the garbage up out of recycling,” Leebrick said.

Rogue Disposal said it chose not to go that route and fix the problem at the source.

“We are working with our customers to clean up the material stream in their homes at the point where they’re setting it out at the curb, so we’re not handling as much dirty material anymore,” Leebrick said.

Rogue Disposal’s method to solve the issue is part of DEQ’s latest report saying more than 6.7 million pounds of recycled materials became waste.

“The numbers are not wrong, it’s just an inaccurate depiction.”

Rogue Disposal said it’s crunched the latest numbers for the month of May. It said it was able to get more than 96% of its curbside co-mingled recycling processed.

“Since we made those changes, we have been able to market the majority of the co-mingled material,” Leebrick said.

According to Rogue Disposal, part of the reason its numbers are so high is because of an effort to avoid raising rates. It’s looked to its customers to recycle more efficiently. While the organization said its method is working, it’s taken time for customers to get on board.

“We’re on the upswing – if people can just hang in there and if people can just keep putting clean stuff only – only acceptable stuff -we can continue to have a sustainable recycling program,” Leebrick said.

Another way to recycle and prevent waste – is going to a recycle depot.

“We’re going to be able to collect some materials from our depots that we simply can’t include in our curbside program because the processors don’t want it,” Leebrick said.

Rogue Disposal’s recycle depot in White City is a drop-off area, making it easy and convenient to drop off items.

“Segregated streams – we’re collecting materials, recyclable materials in each individual streams,” Leebrick said.

At recycle depots, you can recycle items, you’re not able to put in your curbside bins. Rogue Disposal said it’s able to recycle all of the items it collects in its depots.

“Because it’s not mixed material, you can’t hide garbage in it,” Leebrick said.

The recycle depot in white city is open Monday through Saturday. If you’re ever unsure if an item is recyclable, you can always check with someone in the customer service center or a pay attendant. There are other items the recycle depot accepts, for a fee. You can drop off up to one gallon of anti-freeze, appliances, florescent tubes, up to seven gallons of propane tanks, and even tires.

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