Residents Giving Thumbs Up to Recycling Pilot Project

The first time Annette Hiner saw what she calls “that contraption” scooping up her 65-gallon wheeled recycling cart she wasn’t quite sure whether it was a really good thing “or just a really, really bad idea . . . with good intentions,”

 “Did I want to haul that big thing out every week?” she asked. “How could that truck get everything without dropping half of it? How bad would the block look with all these carts sitting out?”

Months into seeing the contraption pick up her recyclables Hiner is sold. Hauling out the wheeled cart is easy, the truck lifts and dumps the contents with relative ease and the neighborhood block  “doesn’t look as cluttered as I thought.”

Hiner didn’t participate in the recent survey of 2,846 households that took part in the Recycling Pilot Program in several neighborhoods beginning Feb. 1, but 48 percent, or 1369 households, did return the form, and it’s clear that many are like Hiner.

 “The people have spoken, so to speak,” said Director of Public Works and Transportation Keith Melton. “If you look at the overwhelmingly high percentages, it’s quite clear that the pilot program is a success and this is something residents want.”

More than eighty percent of respondents gave favorable views on questions such as the ease of maneuvering and rolling of the cart, appearance, and the big question: Would residents be receptive to switching from the 22-gallon open bins to the larger wheeled recycling carts with lids?

 “That summarizes it all,” Melton said of the preference question. Nearly 84 percent of respondents replied positively to the wheeled carts. “We’re confident about moving forward knowing the survey results.”

Melton said the carts are part of Republic’s multimillion-dollar investment in an automated collection system that also includes a compressed natural gas fueling station and new collection trucks.

City officials agreed to the pilot project for a variety of reasons. Cart usage would increase participation in recycling and thus extend the life of the city’s landfill. Larger carts hold more materials and having the carts picked up and dumped mechanically saves on manpower costs and increases safety for workers of Republic Waste Services. Employees no longer have to ride on the back of the vehicles, leap off and sling the bins’ contents into the truck.

 “It’s easy to handle, it holds more and depending on the size of your family you don’t have to put the cart out as often,” Melton said.

Another sign of success: recycling participation is up from 70 percent in January to 88 percent in February and March. Melton said the average volume of materials also increased, from 7.8 to 9.3 pounds.

As for neighborhood aesthetics, a more uniformed look helps.

 “Everyone has the same cart,” Melton said. “When you look down the street, theoretically it looks a little bit better. And when you get heavy rains I’ve seen the bins washed right down the street. These won’t wash down the street.”

View Recycle Cart Pilot Program survey results

 By Ken Perkins

Lori
Guest
Lori
4 years 1 month ago

When are other areas going to get these? I have 2 of the current recycling bins and they are cracked in multiple places, because the people picking up the recycling throw them all over the place when they empty them and have broken them. They have even blocked my driveway at times.

Becky Fuentes
Guest
Becky Fuentes
4 years 1 month ago

Great Idea. Can’t wait for the bins to arrive in my neighborhood.

Thanks for all of you help in getting this program established.

Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago
The City Council is scheduled to discuss the city-wide implementation of the new recycling program at their June 26th meeting. Even if approved, it could be as late as Jan/Feb 2013 before everyone receives a cart. In the meantime, I encourage you to pick up some new bins. They are available (up to 2) free of charge at City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street or at the South Service Center, 1100 Sw Green Oaks Blvd. If the collection crew continues to throw and damage your bins, please let me know so we can address the issue with the crew. Thank… Read more »
Arlington Resident
Guest
Arlington Resident
4 years 1 month ago

You can either call the Water Dept. or visit the city website and order new bin(s). They’ll be delivered to your house, usually within a week.

The newer bins are taller than the original ones. I don’t know if old, damaged bins are recyclable or not. That’s a question you can ask the Water Dept.

LindaMc
Guest
LindaMc
4 years 1 month ago
Were any of the test areas even done in wooded neighborhoods? I live in Woodland West where mature trees, even those set well back from the curb, partially or fully overhang our streets. What happens if the height of the lift & dump mechanism exceeds the height of those limbs? Are you going to require they be trimmed, and who would have to pay for that? You will be destroying the woodsy character of many neighborhoods if you require the trees be butchered (as they are for power lines) just so your new truck can pick up recyclables. And what… Read more »
Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago
Many of the houses in the pilot areas were in wooded neighborhoods and we did not receive any comments regarding the destruction of trees as a result of the pilot program. Fast flowing water is always a concern but it is less likely that the carts will float away. Storage issues have been addressed in previous posts. I am not sure if the proposed carts are wild critter-proof but I would be happy to invesitage the issue. Most of the complaints we receive about critters getting into the trash are due to domesticated cats and dogs and sometimes, birds. You… Read more »
Arlington Resident
Guest
Arlington Resident
4 years 1 month ago
Why so much emphasis on “everyone has the same cart”? We all have the same bins. Having gigantic wheeled carts is NOT aesthetically better. Where will people store these gigantic carts? We will all get to view them every day outside homes… just like in Fort Worth and Dallas. That should improve the aesthetics of our neighborhoods. Why the omission of the question “would you be willing to pay more?” That was a resounding NO by a majority of the minority that bothered to return their surveys. And that “investment by Republic” isn’t really Republic’s investment… it’s planned to be… Read more »
Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago
The easiest way I can think of to respond to your inquiries is to go through and answer one at a time. -Why so much emphasis on “everyone has the same cart”? We all have the same bins. Having gigantic wheeled carts is NOT aesthetically better. Aestetics is subjective but according to the survey, the appearance of the carts is acceptable. -Where will people store these gigantic carts? We will all get to view them every day outside homes… just like in Fort Worth and Dallas. That should improve the aesthetics of our neighborhoods. The carts will replace the bins… Read more »
Arlington Resident
Guest
Arlington Resident
4 years 1 month ago
Ms. Anderle, Thank you for your reply. I know this has been a contentious issue, and I am amongst those in opposition. (as you could probably tell from my statement.) My household does NOT have the space in our garage for trash carts; we have a narrow garage, no shed, and do all our own yardwork. Thus, the garage is our only storage space. We use two small bins, and nearly every week they are both full. The bins are stored on a shelf unit in the garage. It is necessary to back a vehicle out of our garage to… Read more »
Greg Pearce
Guest
Greg Pearce
4 years 1 month ago

Where is this picture? (Pine trees and no mail boxes) It’s not any part of Arlington I’ve seen! Looks and sounds like smoke and mirrors. I couldn’t fill one of those carts up in a month and they want to charge more for pick-up! Who is getting a kick back on this. Just another example of the city of Arlington out of touch with it’s citizens.

Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago
You’re right, this is a generic photo Republic Services provided to us for promotional purposes. As mention below, Republic Services has some general cart placement guidelines that we posted on our website at webapps.arlingtontx.gov/tmp/environment. Unusual cart placement issues might have to be addressed individually. As with the pilot program, supervisors will work with residents to resolve these issues. I have heard other residents say the same thing about not being able to fill the cart every week. That is easily resolved; if your cart is not full, no need to put it out. There a lots of government services where… Read more »
Greg Pearce
Guest
Greg Pearce
4 years 1 month ago

Thanks for the heads-up. I feel much better knowing I can put the cart out for pick-up once a month. I bet I still pay the same price once a week or once a month. Who gets that extra cost savings?

Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Hi Mr. Pearce. You are right. Unlike water and electricity, the fee for curbside garbage and recycling services is a flat rate. Only cities that have what is commonly referred to as “pay as you throw” have variable rates.

CF Rau
Guest
CF Rau
4 years 1 month ago

Yeah! I’ve seen these at friends and family’s houses in other cities, and have been hoping we would get them too!

Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Thank you.
Lorrie Anderle, Recycling Coordinator

Steve
Guest
Steve
4 years 1 month ago

How is that going to work in all the neighborhoods where there are cars parked all along the curbs and where trees and other vegetation are growing in the right of ways and next to the curbs? Just wondering.

Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Please see response to earlier question regarding cart placement.
Thank you. Lorrie Anderle, Recycling Coordinator

Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Republic Services has some general cart placement guidelines that we posted on our website at webapps.arlingtontx.gov/tmp/environment. Unusual cart placement issues might have to be addressed individually. As with the pilot program, supervisors will work with residents to resolve these issues. Thank you. Lorrie Anderle, Recycling Coordinator

Tenia Cobb
Guest
Tenia Cobb
4 years 1 month ago

so when will folks who live in multi-family communites be included in recycling? I moved from a house where I had curbside recycling to a townhouse and now take my non-paper recyclables to Whole Foods, while my neighbors less than a block away have the luxury of curbside recycling.

Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago
Hello. Ms. Cobb. On site multi-family recycling can be challenging. Arlington does not require apartment complexes to recycle and because it isn’t free, most apartment management companies do not voluntarily do it. Even though they could save money on garbage service, it’s always a tough sell to get them to spend money to save money. It’s not always all about the money. Sometimes, they don’t have enough space in their dumpster enclosure. Illegal dumping and contamination can also be problematic. Apartment residents may drop off recycling at any of Arlington’s public libraries. More information is available at webapps.arlingtontx.gov/tmp/environment. I’d be… Read more »
Teresa Sims
Guest
Teresa Sims
4 years 1 month ago

So when will we all get these? I think the wheeled carts would be better too for the elderly. I know many that don’t recycle because they can not carry the opened bens to the curve. I like this idea and I was not in the test run. Thanks

Lorrie Anderle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

The City Council is scheduled to discuss the city-wide implementation again at the June 26th city council meeting. Please look for more information then.

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