County's Stop Waste organization names best recyclers

County's Stop Waste organization names best recyclers

Residents from Livermore, Hayward and Oakland won cash awards this week in a "recycling sort-off" competition sponsored by Alameda County's StopWaste.Org.

The grand prize winners of the Ready, Set, Recycle contest were Kristen Kinzel of Livermore and Amy Lee of Hayward, who both won $500 as the county's "Best Recycler," with runner-up Aurell Cater of Oakland who was awarded $250. The three month-long recycling initiative gave Alameda County residents a chance to win cash prizes for having the least amount of recyclable and compostable materials in their trash bins.

From April through June, StopWaste.Org's prize crew randomly selected garbage bins on regular garbage collection days and rewarded those residents who correctly separated their recyclables, compostables and trash.

Alameda County residents demonstrated widespread enthusiasm for the contest with 20% of the county participating, a total of 61 winners and of these winners, over 50% demonstrated perfect results (0% recyclables and compostables in their garbage bins).

"We already knew that Alameda County residents are some of the best recyclers in the country, with 63% reporting that they recycle regularly," said Jeff Becerra, senior communications manager at StopWaste.Org, "But the results of the contest proved that more and more residents are eager and efficient recyclers."

Of the 893 sorts conducted, StopWaste.Org found 85% of garbage bins contained less than 25% recyclables and 55% contained less than 25% compostables.

The introduction of an annual Ready Set Recycle contest not only encourages residents to form lasting recycling habits but also provides an effective way of helping Alameda County reach its voter-mandated goal of diverting 75% of all waste from county landfills, Becerra said. And StopWaste.Org has set the more aggressive goal of only 10% recyclables and compostables in the garbage bin by 2020.

Because of the success of the program and the enthusiasm of Alameda County residents, Becerra said the StopWaste.Org will make Ready Set Recycle an annual event, to kick off again next spring. In the meantime, Alameda County residents are encouraged to visit www.ReadySetRecycleContest.Org where they can take a recycling pledge, and get tips and information about how to improve their recycling habits.

StopWaste.Org is the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board operating as one public agency. StopWaste.Org's mission is to achieve the most environmentally sound solid waste management and resource conservation program for the people of Alameda County.

Within this context, the agency is committed to achieving a 75% and beyond diversion goal and promoting sustainable consumption and disposal patterns.

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