Through curbside, commercial/institutional and drop off recycling, more than 5,000 tons of steel cans were removed from Washington, D.C.’s solid waste stream in 1992.
Implemented in 1989, the curbside program has grown in phases to include more households place recyclable containers, including steel, aluminum, glass and plastic, into blue bags. The residents also tie cardboard, newspaper and magazines into bundles and place them into green recycling bins. Both the bags and the bins are set at the curbside once a week, the same day garbage is collected.
City businesses are also required to separate steel and aluminum cans, glass and plastic containers, newspaper and office paper from their solid waste. It is estimated that 70 percent of the city’s solid waste stream is produced by local commercial establishments and businesses. Although businesses may have private haulers handle their recyclables, city recycling officials provide technical support.
“We are very excited our local businesses and commercial establishments are recycling,” said Evelyn Shields, the city’s recycling program manager. “What’s particularly great is that we’ve gone beyond container recycling - like one gallon steel cans - and are recycling appliances and other materials. Last summer, we worked with PepCo., the city’s electric company, on a project to collect white goods and bulk waste. We collected nearly 1,000 refrigerators and air
conditioners and 130 freezers for recycling.”
Collected recyclables are delivered to Georgetown Paperstock, where they are placed on a conveyor belt and the steel cans are magnetically removed. The steel cans are baled and shipped weekly to AMG Resources Corporation, a detinning facility in Sparrow’s Point, Maryland.