Greensboro’s Recycle Rodeo being held Saturday, April 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church on Horse Pen Creek Road, doesn’t involve bucking aluminum cans or lassoing plastic bottles, but it does involve recycling and it’s free.

The Recycle Rodeo is a chance recycle some items that don’t belong in your recycling bin such as electronics and household hazardous wastes including paint, batteries and all those old containers of stuff in the tool shed that have the labels worn off.  People can also bring up to five boxes of sensitive documents to be shredded.  Actually the limit is five boxes per vehicle, so depending on how many vehicles you have…

Recycling is a hot topic in Greensboro these days, because in July the recycling program is going to change.  For residents the change will mean that some items that are now being accepted for recycling will be eliminated.  But for the city budget, the recycling program will make a dramatic turn around.

Currently the city is paid $15 for each ton of recyclable material produced by the materials recycling facility (MRF, pronounced murf).  In July the city will start paying $30 a ton for each ton of recyclables produced by the MRF.  That cost will rise to $60 a ton in 2020 and $90 per ton in 2021.  The fee would be higher but in 2012 the City Council made a wise decision and signed a long term recycling contract. Since 2012 the price of recyclables has fallen through the floor and currently some items like glass have a negative value, which means they have to pay someone to remove it from the site.

So the recycling program is going to change in July and one aspect of that change that the city is hoping to bring about is reducing the amount of stuff that can’t be recycled, called contamination, that residents put in their recycling bins.  Greensboro has an unusually high rate of contamination some of it caused by people who really want to recycle and who put stuff in the can that they hope will be recycled.  But if it’s not on the list of acceptable items, it goes to the landfill.

The number one culprit is plastic bags.  Plastic bags, shrink wrap, plastic film any plastic that is not rigid, can’t be recycled at that MRF and what makes it worse is that the bags get caught up in the machinery and often have to cleared by hand.

Some people don’t recycle plastic bags but think that it is acceptable to put their plastic bottles and aluminum cans in a plastic bag and put the whole thing in the recycling bin, but that plastic bag causes problems just like the others.

Plastic bags can be recycled, and many grocery stores have bins for recycling plastic bags.  But if you put plastic bags in your residential recycling bin, they end up at the landfill.

The biggest change for residents coming in July is that glass will almost certainly be eliminated from items that should go in the recycling bin picked up by the city.

Dale Wyrick, the director of Field Operations, said that the city will provide a way for people to recycle glass, probably by establishing a number of convenient drop off locations, but that because of its weight and the fact that glass has a negative value it doesn’t make sense to continue to collect it in the residential recycling bins.

To learn everything you need to know about recycling you can download Greensboro’s recycling app, GSO Collects, from City of Greensboro website.