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New Mainstrasse Receptacles Designed to Collect Pizza Boxes for Recycling

To address a problem in Mainstrasse Village, the City of Covington announced a partnership to place three special receptacles for discarded pizza boxes.

Often, because pizza boxes are too large for the regular garbage cans in the popular Covington entertainment district, the boxes are strewn about or stacked and left behind on tables.

Or, they are simply placed on top of a garbage can, often stacked in multiples and covering up the receptacle's hole.

That might lead to other trash being thrown elsewhere, city officials said.

“Multiple boxes stacked up, and it eventually all fell to the ground,” said Brian Goessling, former president of the Residents of MainStrasse Association (ROMA). “It’s been an issue for a really long time.”

The partnership among ROMA, Rumpke Waste & Recycling, and the city’s public works and solid waste & recycling departments, a solution has been put into place: If the boxes won’t fit the cans, make the “cans” fit the boxes.

Three recycling receptacles specially designed to fit large pizza boxes have been installed in MainStrasse Village near a couple of popular late-night pizza restaurants.

The city and the neighborhood hope they fix what the solid waste & recycling division calls “blooming” cans.

That’s where – just like a bouquet of flowers but decidedly less attractive – cans jammed with pizza boxes “sprout” a big array of garbage that spills out and spreads out all over the place.

The challenge now is to make the public both aware of the receptacles and how to use them – and persuade them to use them.

“If people do it right, the pizza-box problem is going to be solved,” said Sheila Fields, the city’s solid waste & recycling coordinator. “None of us want litter on the streets, and all of us can do something about it.”

Signs on the cans give instruction, and city officials hope to partner with pizza parlors to create and post additional signage, fliers, social media messaging, and perhaps stickers to apply to boxes.

To be recycled and “stacked,” the boxes need to be empty of food scraps, napkins, wax, paper and other trash. And – technically speaking – any part of the box that’s saturated with grease or coated with cheese should be torn off and thrown into the garbage can. The “clean” boxes can then be stacked in the special box containers to be recycled.

Rumpke will collect the boxes as part of its recycling routes.

The three receptacles were installed this week by public works employees at these locations: in the Sixth Street Promenade on both the west and east sides of Main Street, and further south on Main near Craft & Vines wine bar and tap room.

That’s because the problem came primarily from late-night customers who would order out and take their pizza to nearby tables and outdoor dining areas.

ROMA paid for the receptacles using part of a neighborhood grant it received from the city’s neighborhood services department.

Fields said the city applied for and received a state grant for three additional receptacles.

“We really think this square-peg, round-hole solution will work, if people work with us,” she said.

-Staff report

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