Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp., the state's central landfill operator, launched its "Let's Recycle RIght" campaign Monday to help reduce the amount of contaminated recycling loads.
Recycling loads become contaminated when non-recyclable items, such as plastic bags and scrap metal, are thrown into recycling bins.
Rhode Island Resource Recovery will be reinforcing what's accepted in Rhode Island's mixed-recycling program through radio, billboard and social media advertisements from now until November 30. Last month, the agency also mailed bilingual recycling guidelines to 390,000 homes across the state.
Katherine Hypolite, spokeswoman for Rhode Island Resource Recovery, said this campaign is necessary because the state's recycling facility is seeing a lot of trash mixed in with recyclables, which impacts the environment.
"That (recyclable) material (in the contaminated recycling loads), instead of going into the recycling system and being turned into a new product somewhere down the line, it ends up going straight to the landfill,” Hypolite said.
Contaminated loads also put workers in the facility at risk of injury and cost towns and cities money, as they are fined for the loads that have to go to the landfill.
The central landfill in Johnston currently gets loaded with one million tons of trash per year. If that continues, the landfill is expected to reach capacity by 2034, according to Rhode Island Resource Recovery.
Last year, Rhode Island was the first state in the country to adopt standardized recycling labels created by the national nonprofit Recycle Across America. The nonprofit celebrated Rhode Island's adoption at an event in Providence this past April.