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Many Ozark residents are just starting to get into recycling.
But as KSMU's Erika Brame reports, an important part of the process is making sure you have the right materials in the right bin.
Barbra Lucks is the Materials Recovery and Education Coordinator for the city of Springfield.
She says when people put materials in the wrong bins, it leads to contamination.
"If you put trash, just common garbage in a bin of recycled materials that would be considered contamination. Or if you had someone put a large number of say plastic bottles in an aluminum can container, that sort of thing."
The city recycling program allows buyers of tin, plastic and other materials to re-use those items.
Lucks says companies that buy the recycled materials often deal with excess materials they don't want.
"So if you send plastic to a metal marketer it either has to be hand picked out one little plastic bottle at a time or it's going to get in and foul up the whole batch if it's crushed in there together. So you have to separate this at some point.
The city doesn't have a main recycling center where it can cipher through the bins before the companies come to get the materials.
The recycled items go straight from your home, to the bin, and to the company.
That's why Lucks says people can help by making sure materials go in the correct bin.
"So we have a bin setting there and there will be someone who will come up and they'll have like a bag of paper and a bag of bottles and this sort of thing. And if they don't know which bin to put it in then our folks can help them and say the paper goes in here and the plastic goes in here and that sort of thing. But we don't get in the bins and sort or anything like that. That's why it's so important for people to understand what goes in each bin."
In order to minimize contamination Lucks says residents need to separate out their recyclables before heading to the centers for drop off.
For KSMU News I'm Erika Brame.
Anchor Tag: If you live in Springfield and you're interested in recycling your plastic, aluminums, glass, paper, and cardboard, you can visit our website for locations on where to drop them off.