CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new pilot program in Charlotte aiming to help people recycle correctly has kicked off.
Some residents can be confused about what can be recycled from their trash.
Officials said about 17% of what is recycled are contaminants, which is non-recyclable and should not be in bins.
The city of Charlotte is working to change that.
Officials sent 3,000 letters to homeowners, saying they're part of the Recycling Tagging pilot.
The homes were chosen by the city from a study on recycling routes.
The study identified areas that have highly-contaminated recycling carts, which were bins that contained high amounts of non-recyclable material.
"We will be going out and looking inside of highly contaminated recycling carts and looking for contaminants," said Beverlee Sanders, with Charlotte Solid Waste Services.
Every other week, sanitation workers will go through recycling bins on the curb chosen by the program.
City employees will place colored tags on bins to notify residents whether they are recycling correctly or not.
A green tag indicates it's being done correctly; a red tag indicates it's not.
"This program is in no way shape or form about invading people's privacy. It's all about educating Charlotteans about how to recycle right," Sanders said. "We want everyone to know that we want to do the best with their recyclables and take it to the proper places and not end up in the landfill."
Officials want residents to know that workers will be wearing uniforms and driving city vehicles.
The program has been successful in other cites, Sanders said.
In Atlanta, the method reduced its contaminated items from bins by 34%.
Charlotte's pilot runs through May 1 with a break in January.
The pilot will be conducted in council Districts 1, 2, 4 and 7 along 11 different recycling routes.
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