Public Projects and Programs

 June - July 2021BANNER REV2
What is the Feet on the Street cart tagging and education campaign?
The City of University City is conducting a citywide initiative to improve the quality of recycling by providing personalized and real-time curbside recycling education and feedback. The campaign, funded by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, will remind residents what belongs in their single-stream recycling carts in order to save taxpayers money, reduce the number of new resources used in creating packaging products, and improve the health of our community. 

The broad-based “Feet on the Street” education campaign includes sending a team of trained workers wearing official vests to examine residential recycling carts and identify contamination. If contamination is found, an “Oops” tag will be left on the recycling cart and your recycling pick up will be postponed until the following week after the contamination has been removed.


Why are we doing a Feet on the Street campaign?
The Feet on the Street campaign is an effective educational process that will help us improve our curbside recycling habits. Like many municipalities across the US, University City has a higher-than- acceptable recycling contamination rate that we are looking to improve so we can keep our valuable commodities in the economy – providing jobs and conserving our resources.


  How long will the Feet on the Street campaign take?
The campaign will span approximately 8 weeks, starting June 1, remaining in the same areas for four-week intervals, giving every household plenty of time to correct issues and ask questions so they can recycle correctly.


  What items belong in my recycling cart with the blue lid?
Only empty, clean, dry flattened cardboardpapermetal food & beverage cansplastic bottles & jugs, glass bottles & jars, and cartons are to be placed loose in the recycling cart with the light blue lid. Please do not bag recycling or put plastic bags of any kind in the recycling cart. 
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Click HERE to find out more about what to put in your recycling cart.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Why are we doing this program?

For most of the early twenty-first century, China was the main destination for the world's scrap material. This resulted from a combination of factors, including the growing need for metal, paper and plastics in China's expanding industry, lax environmental regulations, cheap labor, and inexpensive shipping using containers that would otherwise be returned to China empty.

In 2017, that situation abruptly changed when China announced its ‘’National Sword’’ program, which banned many scrap imports and imposed strict quality standards of less than 1% contamination. As a result, the US recycling industry is responding by investing in better sorting equipment and focusing on cleaning up recycling streams, not necessarily to meet the National Sword standards, but to meet the requirements needed for increased use domestically.

Locally, we have seen an increase in the amount of contaminated recycling, and we need to do our part in improving the quality of material.


Is Contamination really a big deal?

Contamination increases the cost to the recycling system in labor, time, and increased safety hazards. Communities that focus on anti-contamination programs for their community can see benefits to their recycling program such as:

  • Increased the capture of quality recyclables
  • Increase the value of recyclables materials
  • Increased the savings related to improved processing and decrease in labor, downtime and fees

How will the FOTS program work?

Existing recyclable materials will be separated, sorted, and inspected to see what kind of contaminated material residents are placing in their carts.

Residents will receive a Recycling Information Card via direct mail. A couple weeks later quality Inspectors will then check recycling carts city-wide and tag carts found with the presence of the identified top issue contaminants with an “Oops” tag.

Residents receiving an “Oops” tag may have their cart rejected for service depending on the amount and type of contamination. The resident is asked to remove the contaminant before the next service day.


My cart was not serviced, will they come back to empty the cart?

No. If you find the cart turned around with an “oops” tag on the cart, that means there was contaminated material and we could not service the cart. The tag will tell you what was wrong; if you make this correction, we will service the cart on the next regularly scheduled collection day.


Why are people looking in my cart?

Quality inspectors will walk the routes starting early in the morning. They will look through the cart for contaminants and leave a tag if necessary.


Is this safe with the current pandemic?

Tagging staff will wear all appropriate personal protective equipment while walking the routes to minimize any risk related to COVID-19.


Will this really make a difference?

Yes. Other communities that have done a similar program have reported a reduction in the amount of contamination; anywhere from 25% to 45%.


What items will prevent my cart from being serviced?

If trash, yard waste, food waste, construction material, plastic bags, or bagged recyclable are found, we will not service the cart.
Recyclings Most Unwanted UCity (front)