2,300 tons a year (but we can do better)

On National Recycling Day, here’s how to join the effort in The Cov

COVINGTON, Ky. – Covington joins environmentally conscious people today in marking National Recycling Day, but here in The Cov, the mood isn’t just celebratory.

“We have work to do,” said Sheila Fields, Covington's Solid Waste and Recycling Manager. “We want to use this opportunity to not only increase the number of people in Covington who recycle but also to better guide them in doing it right. People really do want to be good stewards of their community and planet and leave the world a better place for their children and grandchildren, but the ever-changing worlds of manufacturing and recycling require us to pay attention.”

Fortunately, Covington makes it easy to begin: As part of their weekly trash pickup, residents can arrange to get a free wheeled cart that they fill up and roll out alongside their trash cart for Rumpke Trash & Recycling to pick up.

The City’s Solid Waste and Recycling Division also provides guidance via mailed pamphlets and online webpages. See Solid Waste & Recycling webpage and/or Covington Recycling Guidelines for more information, but here are the basics:

What can go in the curbside cart?

Paper (including cartons, glossy magazines, cereal boxes and mail)… paper cups (think coffee or fast food and remove the plastic lid) … cardboard (be sure to flatten and remove any foam or plastic) … glass bottles or jars of any color (not broken, empty and rinsed  and remove the lids) … plastic bottles, jugs, tubs (empty and rinsed  with lid attached,), clear cups and plastic fast food cups (empty with  plastic lid attached but remove the straw) … and metal cans and cups.

What shouldn’t go in the curbside cart?

Rigid plastics – like kids’ toys and laundry baskets …light bulbs, mirrors, batteries, coat hangers, clothing, pots and pans, plastic “clamshell” food containers (and any Styrofoam) … straws … loose plastic caps (any size)…scrap metal…garden hoses…plastic single-use disposable items like colored solo cups, plates and plastic forks, spoons, and knives. Compostable/biodegradable items do not go in your recycling cart.

Plastic bags and flexible film?

DO NOT bag recyclables you place loose in your cart

DO bag shredded paper (if you shred your own paper) in a clear bag. Never use black bags (they get pulled and thrown in the trash)

DO bag acceptable items in the new orange specialty bag with the NEW Hefty Renew Program.

Single-use-disposables/Hefty Renew Program

Under the new Hefty ReNew™ partnership between Rumpke, Hefty® and Kroger, residents can buy special orange-colored bags and fill them with a whole range of things like plastic grocery bags, flexible film food packaging, straws, plastic  forks, spoons, and knives, foam egg cartons, foam shipping material, clear snack bags (no foil lined bags) and candy wrappers (no foil lined wrappers). Plastic bags and flexible film can still be dropped off at local Kroger and the Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub. 

Chasing arrows

By the way, don’t be confused by the recycling symbol (the “chasing arrows” with the number) on plastic containers. The number identifies the type of plastic used in the manufacturing process and is only somewhat related to whether an item can be thrown in your cart.

Special events

Special drop-off events through the year, in Covington and around Northern Kentucky, for things like tires, hazardous household chemicals, electronics, and confidential documents (that are immediately shredded). Sign up to receive City updates on these events.

What, how and where to recycle

See the N.Ky. Solid Waste Resource Guide for a ton of information on things like food waste, chemicals, tires, and yard waste.

How to get started

Committed recyclers tell us they have three “stations” at home in which they put items for the Rumpke/City curbside recycling cart, the Hefty ReNew™ program, and stuff to drop off at the Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub that neither Rumpke or Hefty can accept  (such as foil-lined snack bags and candy wrappers, batteries, VHS tapes etc.). Don’t have a Hefty ReNew™ starter kit yet? You can get one HERE.

By the numbers

Some 61 percent of Covington households,1 – 4 units, participate in the City’s curbside recycling program, according to the City’s CovData site. Over the last four fiscal years, anywhere from 2,300 to 2,450 tons of material a year has been recycled.

The ‘last resort’

While we in Covington strongly encourage every resident to recycle, in reality “recycling” is only part of the effort – and really the last of the actions that need to be taken – in order to manage the amount of waste we produce. The “five Rs” are refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and then recycle. The first four refer to refusing to buy products that are wasteful or non-recyclable (i.e. smarter decisions when purchasing), reducing use of single-use plastics and practices like single-side printing, reusing items (like bringing a set of silverware to work rather than using and throwing away plastic forks from take-out lunches), being creative in repurposing items. 


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