News & Events

Success Spotlight: Making Recycling Work

Author: Anna Chott, Sustainability Planner at East-West Gateway Council of Governments











  Photo credit: Republic Services


After a billboard and targeted ad campaign lasting only 6 weeks, Republic Recycling saw over a 20% reduction of contamination in targeted routes in North St. Louis County. The team at Republic was especially excited to see a drop in items they had advertised not to put in the bin, including troublesome plastic bags. Plastic bags are a “tangler” that clog up sorting machines, causing headaches and slowdowns at the Republic material recovery facility. Plastic bags should only be recycled in dropoff locations at grocery stores - or better yet, eliminated through the use of reusable bags.


News has surfaced nationally and locally that undermines public confidence in recycling. While Republic Facility Manager Brent Batliner admits that recycling is not a perfect system 100% of the time, his team sorts everything that enters their facility and works hard to ensure that recyclable materials make it to manufacturers that will process the materials into new products. The better the quality of the material that comes in, the better the recycling system works. You can find out where Republic sends each type of material to be recycled into new products here. Residents of the St. Louis region are reminded to “Stick with the 6” when they recycle, as shown in the graphic below. More information about what to recycle in the St. Louis region is available here


Reducing, reusing, refilling, repurposing, and repairing should be at the top of consumers’ priorities to reduce waste. But when items do need to be recycled, it’s important to put the correct items in the bin to keep the process working.