The City of Akron and Keep Akron Beautiful Launch Another Round of Recycle Right Campaign

Akron, Ohio, June 10, 2024  — Today, the City of Akron in partnership with Keep Akron Beautiful, is once again launching the Recycle Right campaign here in Akron. The Recycle Right campaign is a communitywide initiative to improve the quality of recycling in curbside carts by providing residents personalized and real-time curbside recycling education and feedback. 

The initiative—running Monday, June 10 through Friday, August 9—will again include mobilizing specially-trained personnel to conduct curbside cart observations.  Residents who have contaminants (non-recyclables) in their recycling carts will receive informational “Oops” tags on their carts with direct feedback designed to improve recycling cart contents (example available here).  Recycling carts found to contain contaminants such as trash and other non-recyclable items will not be emptied.  Instead, residents will be given the opportunity to correct the mistake and return the cart to the curb the following week. 

“I’m proud to once again bring the Recycle Right campaign to Akron in partnership with Keep Akron Beautiful,” said Mayor Shammas Malik. “Each year, this campaign helps educate our residents on what items belong in their recycling carts, and it’s helping us keep our program sustainable for our city and our environment.”

Before the City began the Recycle Right campaign in 2019, the contamination rate of Akron's recyclables was 39.3%, which is high. This rate cost the City $205,031 in contamination costs. After the first two rounds of the Recycle Right campaign, the rate dropped down to 26.3% which brought the contamination cost down to $38,038. The most recent audit confirmed the continuing success of this program showing that the City’s contamination rate for recycling is currently at 22.3% meaning the City has nearly cut the contamination rate in half during the course of this campaign. This year, Akron hopes to further improve the contamination rate with a goal of below 20%.

“The cleaner our recycling stream, the more sustainable the program will be,” said Keep Akron Beautiful CEO Jacqui Ricchiuti. “This is why we are hoping to get that contamination rate down even further with this next round of the campaign. Contamination is anything that can’t be recycled through a community’s recycling program — for example, coffee pods, also called ‘K cups,’ are not recyclable in Akron, although milk jugs are. Just because a plastic container is stamped with a triangle icon doesn’t mean it’s recyclable. To minimize confusion, the city’s ‘Akron Recycles’ app offers details on what the program can accept. Clean recyclables are paper, cardboard, cartons, metal food, beverage cans, and plastic bottles and jugs. Containers should be empty and clean, and the recyclables should not be bagged.”

To help take any guesswork out of what can or cannot be recycled, the City of Akron offers the free Akron Recycles app. The app allows residents to search any item and find out if it belongs in the trash bin, the recycling bin, or on the curb as a bulk item. The app also provides customized alerts and reminders regarding curbside pickup. It is available to download for free on Apple or Android devices.