Benefits of a Cart Recycling Program and the use of Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles
- More recycling: With the implementation of a cart collection system, we see an increase in citizen participation in recycling programs anywhere from 30% to 50%. A cart simply can hold more material than a hand-carry bin. A review of recycling participation in Arlington in comparison to other large nearby cities which use carts for collection confirms this fact. Arlington residents generate approximately 80 lbs. of recyclable material per resident annually, while other large communities with cart service generate 130-150 lbs.
- Cleanliness: Use of a cart with a lid reduces the incidence of wind-blown litter resulting in cleaner streets and water drainage systems. Carts also prevent animal scavenging.
- Ease of use: Rolling a wheeled cart to the curb is easier than carrying a bin or, in many cases, multiple bins to the curb. The carts are well engineered with a low center of gravity for stability. In a recent survey by the University of Nevada of cart users in Las Vegas, 97% of respondents reported that the carts are easy to use.
- Space for the cart: Carts are available in 65-gallon size. The 65-gallon cart has a 5.2 sq. ft. footprint. Yes, bins are a little smaller, but only a 2 to 3 sq. ft. difference in footprint.Please note many residents have more than 1 bin. Even with multiple bins there is frequently recycle material placed outside the bin; this material also takes space in the residences’ homes or garages before setting out for collection.Container Types22-gallon bin (right) 18.5” W X 15.5” D, 2.00 sq. ft.65-gallon bin (left) 25.1” W X 29.5” D, 5.15 sq. ft.
- It’s safer: Automated cart collection is safer for workers. Distracted drivers today represent a major safety risk for workers working along streets. Most serious accidents in the industry occur when workers are between the back of their collection vehicle and oncoming traffic. Based on a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sanitation Worker is the 7th most dangerous job in the nation with a fatality rate of 25 per 100,000 workers.
- Less waste to the landfill: More recycling means less to the landfill, which means longer landfill life. Disposal cost is a large expense item in the solid waste collection service. Once the landfill closes, waste will need to be transferred to further landfills. The additional waste transfer process increases disposal expense by approximately 50%.
- Natural Gas Vehicles: In addition, the program includes the implementation of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. In comparison to diesel fuel, CNG is a cleaner burning fuel to help address air quality issues in the metropolitan area. At present, there is little fueling infrastructure located in the western half of the metropolitan area limiting the use of alternative fuel. The installation of a local natural gas fueling station would allow other fleet operators, such as the City of Arlington and UTA, to begin conversion to natural gas vehicles.