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Waste & Recycling October 12, 2017 10:30:25 AM

Columbia Survey to Gauge How Much People Drop Off Recycling

Waste Advantage
ScrapMonster Contributor
The City of Columbia has decided to conduct surveys at four of teh city's 12 centers in order to determine how much residents use drop-off recycling centers.
Columbia Survey to Gauge How Much People Drop Off Recycling

SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): The City of Columbia wants to determine how much residents use drop-off recycling centers. To do that, it’s conducting surveys at four of the city’s 12 centers.

Ben Kreitner, waste minimization coordinator for the city, said the project was made possible by the interns who cataloged previous data into Excel over the summer. Prior to their data entry work, the recycling numbers for the city had been stored in file cabinets on sheets of paper.

“We have data going back to 1989,” Kreitner said. “That could make for some interesting graphs.”

But the major concern, Kreitner said, is figuring out what recycling is originating from inside Columbia’s city limits versus what’s being brought in from outside.

Until this survey, that discrepancy hadn’t been investigated.

“A lot of the numbers that newspapers are using aren’t that accurate,” Kreitner said. “We wanted to do actual surveying data, because anything reported in the past could be inaccurate.”

The survey began Oct. 2 and ends Saturday, according to the city website.

Kreitner said the project is based around two questions: whether residents who are recycling live in a house or an apartment and whether they live inside the city, inside Boone County or outside the county.

“If someone from Fulton drives here to recycle, that’s obviously not Columbia’s waste,” he said.

He said the survey has already found people from outside the city using the Columbia recycling sites. Columbia, he said, is viewed as the recycling center for all of mid-Missouri.

Once the data from city containers is collected, Kreitner said it will be used as a representative sample to determine the locations of waste that originates from inside the city versus outside it. They’ll then calculate a percentage that will allow the city to set long-term recycling goals.

“Once we know (the city’s recycling percentage), we can actually set goals,” he said. “Currently, we don’t have that set up.”

Although the data will be used to determine Columbia’s recycling percentage, Kreitner wants to make it clear this survey isn’t meant to criticize people bringing in their waste from outside the city.

“We’re not trying to discourage anyone or tell anyone from outside that they’re doing it wrong,” he said.

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