Last week, WW wrote about high contamination rates in Portland's recycling ("You're Doing It Wrong," WW, June 6, 2018). Rose City residents love to recycle, but keep throwing garbage—plastic bags, coffee cups, batteries, diapers, etc.—in blue bins. Commingled bins have become so contaminated that the state's top buyer, China, has stopped accepting U.S. recycling. Here's what readers had to say:
Kevin Bender, via Facebook: "You need a Ph.D. to figure out what's actually recyclable or not."
Carlene Goodbody, via Twitter: "You have no idea how much time I spend resorting my apartment complex's recycling dumpster."
Paul Gronke, via Twitter: "Nigel [Jaquiss] writes it is 'pride' and 'religion' yet the percentage of contaminants jumped when we went to biweekly garbage. Why don't we think that change is as important as a misdirected religious fervor?"
John Doe, via wweek.com: "I moved here around three years ago from California, and when I found out they don't pick up my trash every week, I decided to teach the city a lesson. It's asinine that they only pick up my garbage every other week considering I have way more garbage than [recyclable] trash."
Gary AW, in response: "So get yourself a bigger trash can and pay the higher fee. Don't screw up the recycling for everyone."
Amanda Giovanini, via Facebook: "The diaper thing is gross and makes me think people are lazy or just too cheap to pay for the correct garbage service size."
Tylerbullen, via wweek.com: "The easiest way to get recycling right is to reduce the production of unrecyclable stuff in the first place. We could start by banning plastic grocery bags statewide."
Sarah Reynolds, via Facebook: "We need to boycott straws."
Sara Poulter, via Facebook: "Maybe there should be a standard identification on packaging to identify what is recyclable.
Nwhatz, via wweek.com: "I'm more inclined to blame the blue bins. They're so big, they practically scream, 'Fill me with anything you might find recyclable!' So people just chuck weird stuff in hoping it will be recycled."
Jay Gaddy, via Facebook: "Next time I see an old, broken-down IKEA shelving unit in a recycle bin, I'm going to scream."
Kooosh, via wweek.com: "I thought I was a good recycler, but I guess I'm as bad as everyone else."