Good Question: Are they mixing trash and recyclables?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)—Here’s a Good Question about taking out the trash.

We know how this all starts, on that one day each week, we pull the garbage and recycling bins out to the road for pickup, but what really happens next– to keep trash split from our glass, plastics, and paper?

That’s a good question– and it comes through a lot.

Just recently a viewer wanted to know: Can you please look into what happens to our recycling after Waste Management takes it? My kids say that they see them put it all in together with the garbage.

You may have seen the same thing before, workers will come by and pick up recycling and trash bins and dump them into the same truck, but here’s the important part, those items never actually mix together. A lot of companies use split body trucks on their routes, and there are two distinct compartments inside the truck. The compartments can be rear-loading, like one where a worker puts trash in a container on one side, and recycling on the other, or they can be automatic.

Some of the groups using split body trucks locally include Lilac and Waste Management. Keep in mind, those aren’t for every route or for every business, in that case, those customers get two trucks coming by to make stops: one for garbage, another for recycling.


Watch previous Good Question segments here. If you have a question you’d like answered, email