SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) — Alameda County’s top recyclers faced off Monday  morning after a three-month recycling contest to determine who was best at separating cans from food scraps from landfill waste at a tie-breaking “sort-off.”

The “Ready, Set, Recycle” contest throughout Alameda County encouraged residents to use their recycling skills, and the top recyclers were awarded with a $500 prize.

Three finalists, who had the least amount of recyclable and compostable materials in their trash, as tracked throughout the contest, competed this morning for the top recycling title, in a competition organized through StopWaste.org, also known as the joint agency for the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board.

At San Leandro’s Davis Street Transfer Center on Monday morning, the three finalists from Oakland, Hayward and Livermore sorted through many pieces of trash, recycling and compost. There was a tie between Kristen Kinzel, of Livermore, and Amy Lee, of Hayward, who each won $500 for sorting 33 items in two-and-a-half minutes, contest organizers said.

StopWaste.org spokesman Jeff Becerra said the contest and sort-off encourage many Alameda County residents to pay attention to how they get rid of their waste.

“The results show that people really are getting it,” he said. “The number one thing people can do is recycle food scraps into the green container on a regular basis.”

Alameda County has a three-cart waste system for recyclables, compostables, — which include food scraps and yard clippings—and landfill material, Becerra explained.

About 900 residents participated in the contest and at least 8 percent of participants perfectly sorted their recycling, compost and trash during the past three months.

All participants helped StopWaste.org with their goal of keeping landfills free of recyclables or compostables, Becerra said.

“We want those people to be recognized for their good work,” he said.

Last year only two Alameda County cities participated in what had been a pilot program, but as this year has been deemed a success throughout the county, the contest would continue next year, Becerra said.

Recyclers and meticulous sorters in Alameda County can still make a pledge to recycle and may win prizes from random drawings through the Ready, Set, Recycle contest website at readysetrecyclecontest.org, Becerra said.

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