Monday, December 19, 2011

Making Recycling Inclusive

Durham, North Carolina is having great success with the larger capacity rollout recycling carts but other than a experiment in the city manager's office, I'm not sure when we will move to reverse recycling.  I saw this in action during a visit to my daughter and grandsons in Salt Lake City, Utah where they now have the same large recycling cart, but a very small cart for garbage.

The other day I asked a recycling executive with the City of Durham why it is that I see businesses like dry cleaners collecting plastic wrapping for recycling but that our curbside recycling does not accept that same content like many other cities do. I didn't get an answer or even an acknowledgment that this doesn't make sense or that this will be remedied in the near future.

It isn't just dry cleaners. The same is true with recycling electronics.  It isn't enough to just ask people to take those items back to the store where they purchased them or to keep track of periodic recycling days held in store parking lots.  If communities want households to efficiently recycle, they need to make far more frequent and timely adjustments to the types of items they accept  at curbside.

In the meantime it never hurts to communicate with residents why it is the City can't take something curbside and how long it will be before that will be remedied.  Once people are educated to recycle it is natural for them to expect that everything that is recyclable will be included.


Barry said...

Durham County is even worse. I routinely bring household waste (yogurt containers and the like) to my office where it can be recycled.

Ted Voorhees said...

The City is currently reviewing its long-term disposal options in preparation for some major decisions. That takes priority. Meanwhile, replacing large garbage carts with smaller ones will take time and lots of money, and doesn't make sense as long as there is no price differential for customers since garbage collection is built into taxes rather than fee supported. Thanks for the thougts; we'll keep working on it.

Ted Voorhees, Deputy City Manager

Donald Long said...

Citizens do have a choice of 96 or 65 gallon carts. Please note that some business such as grocery stores and dry cleaners have programs where citizens can drop off thier plastic bags and coat hangers to return to the manufacturer for recycling. We accept a wider range of items than some municipalities, such as yogurt cups, juice and milk cartons, ridgid plastics (childrens toys) and evelopes with windows. We have a proactive marketing campaign and all of our information is available to citizens via phone call or on our website. We also are available to make presentations to schools and groups. It is against state law to dispose of electronics in a NC landfill therefore we recycle ALL electronics. Citizens can call in for curbside collection of TV's 19 inches or larger, or they can bring them to our Club Blvd. convenience site.

Donald M. Long
Director of the Department of Solid Waste Management
City of Durham, NC

Anonymous said...

It's great to see that someone from the local government took the time to discuss waste management services. More people should voice their concerns online--there's a big chance you will be heard.

plastic bag manufacturers said...

I think that the local government should do something about this situation, since it's still recyclable material. Thanks.