Private Garbage Collector: Mixing Recycling and Garbage?

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Topic: Private Garbage Collector: Mixing Recycling and Garbage?

General Discussion August 20, 2013 at 10:03 am

Private Garbage Collector: Mixing Recycling and Garbage?



Hi All-

I was curious if anyone had ever heard of this before.

I’m originally from MI. I grew up separating plastic/metal from paper for recycling. After moving to DC a few years ago, I had to get used to the city’s single stream approach.

I recently moved to a new apartment in Petworth and the management company ( a large one in town) contracts with a private garbage collector. From my apartment I have a awesome view of the alley (fancy, i know). The building has several large yellow-topped recycling only bins and several black-topped trash bins. Every Sunday my girlfriend and I see the private garbage truck come in and dump the contents of both types of bins in to one truck.

Dismayed, I took a picture and forwarded it on to my management company. I got a response saying the trash collector’s “method” is to combine everything and sort out recycling from garbage at their facility. The collectors “assured” the management company that this was a “know industry practice”.

My question: does this sound right? Seems very strange to me. Are there any city regulations on this? Any suggestions as to other steps I could take for more info? I’d hate to be spending a lot of time to sort out recycling if it is all just getting trashed.

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We had this happen with the previous trash company servicing our building (could be the same one). We, too, were quite suspicious, and it seemed odd to even have separate bins if that was their procedure. In the end, we switched companies to one that does trash pick-up on certain days and recycling on the other, mostly to assuage our doubts.


I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought this was odd. I doubt however our management company would consider switching. They seemed satisfied with the Trash company’s answer.

A previous employer of mine did things. Not sure if it was a trash/recycling company they had contracted directly, or whether the building that the employer was leasing had made the arrangements with the trash/recycling company.

In this case, the separated trash and recyclables were being put together into a compactor. Supposedly the compacted mix was then taken somewhere else, where the recyclables were separated from the trash.

I didn’t doubt the basic premise of the story, but it sounded like a totally inefficient way of handling trash and recycling, especially since stuff like oil/grease from food waste can render otherwise-recyclable items (like all the PAPER that an office generates) unusable for recycling. I suspected there were kickbacks involved.

Oops — I meant “this,” not “things.”

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