Bismarck's state of recycling

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Waste Management gave Bismarck City Commissioners a report on the state of recycling from the city. Focusing on things that people can do better going forward.

Bismarck's recycling used to be mostly paper, but the report says we've had an increase in cardboard and plastic bottles which are a little more valuable for the company.

Bismarck's recycling numbers are on the rise according to Paul Kalibabky, though they are facing issues.

"We have a high flow of materials coming in but a low demand, so to keep things moving we have to sell for a lot cheaper than we'd like to," said Kalibabky.

They still encourage people to recycle as much as they can, and work on only putting in things that can be recycled.

"Overall nationally about 25% of the recycling that's coming in is considered contamination," said Kalibabky.

Out of Bismarck, Kalibabky estimated one in five trucks is a contaminated load. He says the biggest issues are plastic bags, but they also have issues with snow, food waste, and water.

Kalibabky said, "It does have a negative impact because they charge us for the contamination so we're not recovering that cost. The cleaner it is the better."

He mentions most grocery stores have take-back programs for plastic bags.

Kalibabky also cautioned against wish-cycling, where someone tosses in items they aren't sure about. Like bicycle helmets, children's toys, or wood products.