Curbside Recycling – Local Variation Gets Smaller

I was reading my local Independent Newspaper today and found two articles on recycling/trash in my local area.  One was about my city and one about the city next door.

In my city, Livermore, CA,  the monthly rates for trash pick-up have been approved to go up next July (~$3.00 per household.)  That was the main genesis for the article, but the interesting part was the change for commercial customers.  As part of the negotiations between the company and the City’s Public Works Manager, drop box waste fees are now based on weight as well as frequency of servicing.  Savings incentives were put in place for less material or lower service frequency.  Rather than one price fits all, reward those who reduce waste.  I like it. Seems this might be a good idea for local residents too.  I know that since we started paying attention here at home, we have significantly reduced what we contribute to the landfill.  Some weeks, sometimes several weeks in a row, we don’t even bother to take the non-recycling garbage can to the curb.  But it takes some effort and commitment.  A little incentive could go a long way.

In my neighboring city, Pleasanton, CA, changes are being made for residential customers.  While both cities have curbside recycling, to my surprise, Pleasanton’s old system was a two can system: one for yard waste and one for everything else.  Recyclable material was sorted out from the garbage at a facility.  While quite convenient for the customer, I can’t even imagine how difficult and inefficient that would be at the sorting center.

Pleasanton implemented the program in October with the intent of capturing more recyclable material.  Their new program sounds very similar to Livermore’s program: a can for yard/food waste, a can for all other recyclable materials and third can for the rest.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  Next step is for Pleasanton to increase its list of recyclable materials to be as impressive as the recyclable materials list is for Livermore.

Although recycling is not equal across this nation, it appears that in my local area, things are starting to unify.

So that’s what’s happening around here, what’s going on in your neck of the woods?


3 responses to “Curbside Recycling – Local Variation Gets Smaller

  1. A comment from the group GREEN in Linkedin:

    There are some benefits to urban/suburban life! We recently relocated from rural Idaho where there was NO recycling service available. The County landfill was within a year of its permitted capacity and the County Commissioners would not take action on implementing a solution! Diverting recyclables from the landfill would have extended its capacity significantly.

    In order to maintain our sustainability efforts at Grand Targhee Resort, we purchased our own balers and hauled our recyclables over 60 miles to a redemption center. We provided separate bins for glass, plastic, and paper, as co-mingling and sorting was not an option.

    I understand that Summit County, Utah, home of Park City and the 2002 Winter Olympics, still has no curbside recycling program!

    So Chad, be thankful all you have to do is keep the trash out of the recycling bin, and wheel it to the curb once a week! Now if we could just get the municipalities to provide a 30 gallon “trash” bin and a 60 gallon recycle bin, it might help our perspectives on what our waste stream should look like.

  2. A comment from the group GREEN on Linkedin:

    Hi, Chad
    Just north of you in Martinez, Contra Costa Co, we have variable size trash cans available, with the smallest adding a liner that cuts the area in half. We have always had the smallest can until I called Allied Waste and told them the truck had disposed of my can that day. The lady and I got to talking and she told me there was a smaller can available just by having a liner installed. It also cut the cost significantly. Well, I signed right up, and met great hesitation from my husband! He was certain we would have smelly trash hanging around. I told him our can is never even half full, and if there was a problem with trash we could change back. Not surprisingly to me, there has never been a problem with the trash can being full with the insert.

    We also have a large mixed recyclable can that sometimes is overfull, and a twice monthly pick-up of yard waste that is often overfull in the clean-up times of the year. We just store it in extra cans and the neighbors also let us fill up their cans on yard waste collection days. We are also offered an annual or bi-annual yard waste clean-up with an allowance of ten bags hauled to the street. (I haven’t ever used this, so I am working on distant memory.) They offer Christmas tree recycling too, but our tree is artificial and re-used each year.

    Where I work does not recycle, and so I took in a bin for bottles and cans. Surprisingly, I haul home quite a collection and co-workers also take the recyclables home too. Now if they would recycle the paper…

  3. Erik,
    I am constantly amazed at the variation of options available across the nation. It is stunning to me to find that there are places in the country where recycling options are not available, curbside or not. A past commenter from Georgia said that rather than paying the $5.00 fee to take it to the dump, his neighbor would just toss his trash over the back fence of his property where it would roll down the hill.

    I’m going to check into the alternate can options to see if we have something similar here.
    Good for you and your co-workers for taking the effort at your workplace. More than 34M Tons of commonly recyclable materials ended up in landfills in 2007.
    ps: We have had an artificial Christmas tree since 1997 and it’s still going strong!
    Hearing you and Erik and your individual efforts gives me hope, but there is so much more that could be accomplished by individuals if municipalities shifted the priorities and put in place sustainable options.

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