Bob Downing

The city of Akron is seeking help from residents to improve its curbside recycling program.

Recyclables no longer need to be placed in clear or blue plastic bags inside the 64-gallon plastic bins, said Robert Harris, superintendent of Akronís Sanitation Services Division.

Instead, materials can be placed loose in the bin and rolled to the curb.

The change was announced in December in notices mailed to Akron residents with their water bills but, Harris said, seems to have gotten little attention.

Harris said that eliminating the plastic bags makes it easier for Waste Management to operate the recycling facility, near the Akron-Fulton Airport in southeast Akron.

Workers must open and remove the bags from cans. Bags also can clog the machinery and halt the recycling operation, Harris said.

Akron switched from plastic bins to blue bags as it expanded curbside recycling in 1992, and residents were asked to bag the recyclables. Collections went weekly in 2005.

Harris said about 42,000 of Akronís 61,000 trash customers recycle, or about 69 percent, and they ďdo a pretty good job.Ē

The city still gets bags of leaves and grass clippings or political campaign signs that cause problems at the Waste Management plant, he said.

Trash customers pay $19 a month for trash disposal if they recycle. If they donít recycle, they must pay $21.50 a month.

Akron collects about 8,700 tons of recyclables per year, or about 725 tons a month.

The city gets 80 percent of the income derived from the sale of recyclables. Waste Management gets the other 20 percent under its contract with Akron.

For more information, Akron residents can call 311 or 330-375-2311 to order a 64-gallon recycle bin. You can also go to www.akronohio.gov.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.