Improving Commingled Recycling in WA photo identifier

Improving Commingled Recycling in WA

Background: Where did this project come from?

In 2006, U.S. EPA Region 10 convened a series of meetings called the Washington Beverage Container dialogues to address how to increase beverage container recycling in the absence of a state bottle deposit law. An issue identified during these meetings was the quantity of beverage containers "lost" in the commingled recycling processing system. These lost bottles and cans contaminate paper bales and end up at paper mills where they are eventually disposed.

Due to the interest in this issue, EPA Region 10 convened the Contamination in Commingled Recycling Systems Standards & Guidelines Initiative and hosted a kickoff meeting in Seattle in July 2007. The regional workgroup's vision was to develop standards and guidelines for commingled recycling systems to reduce cross-contamination of recycled materials, increase the quality and quantity of materials recycled, and capture the highest percentage of materials intended to be recycled. The timeframe for this work was approximately one year. In September 2008, EPA Region 10 handed off the deliverables of the Initiative to the states of Oregon and Washington to pursue their individual implementation processes. For more details on the work of EPA's Initiative including stakeholders, process, white papers, and slideshow presentation, please visit