Is recycling being mixed with trash in Raleigh?

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Recycling is considered to be a crucial part of modern-day waste collection and Raleigh, like many municipalities, has an extensive recycling program.

But a viewer contacted CBS 17 with fears the city isn’t doing its job when it comes to recycling.

On collection day, people put their trash and separated recycling at the curb. In Raleigh, recycling bins are blue and trash bins are green.

The CBS 17 Investigators received an email and photos from a viewer who believed the city of Raleigh was dumping contents of blue recycling bins into trash trucks along Davie Street in downtown.

Here’s what the CBS 17 Investigative team did:

A reporter followed a city of Raleigh solid waste truck chosen at random to a west Raleigh neighborhood.

Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia watched as the truck picked up only green trash bins, ignoring the blue recycling bins.

When Sbraccia checked some of the blue bins in the Barry Creek neighborhood he found them empty.

A resident said in that neighborhood, the recycling was picked up early before the trash.

“It’s like between 7 and 9 o’clock,” said Aubrianna Craft. She said the recycling truck looks different from the trash collection truck.

When we showed her the viewer’s photo he snapped on West Davie Street downtown, Craft said that looked like the truck that picks up recycling in her neighborhood.

“It’s the one I’ve seen before,” she said. 

When CBS 17 checked with the city of Raleigh, spokeswoman Julia Milstead said the city often gets questions about the kind of trucks being used and trash collection.

She said trucks that collect trash and recycling are used interchangeably — but the solid waste division makes sure trucks are emptied and cleaned each day to prevent co-mingling and contamination. 

The city says it uses smaller trucks like the one photographed by the CBS 17 viewer to get around easier in traffic in the downtown area.

Milstead says those smaller trucks are called “split bodies” which allows trash to be dumped in one compartment and recycling into another compartment on the same truck without mixing them together.

If you have questions about the city’s solid waste or recycling collection programs, click here for the city of Raleigh website.

Garbage, yard waste and recycling collection schedules for Raleigh are available here.

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