30 July 2015

Streaming recyclers among the consuming public

This unwelcome bin began showing up early July 2015 under the 3 year contract with the town government to replace the recycle tubs (18 gallon capacity). Whereas the tubs could hold a week or more's worth of plastics, glass, paper products and metals, these new 96 gallon behemoths may well fill up only every 4-6 weeks. Having fewer stops to make on the route saves the company time and personnel costs, but it falls to the householder to put the eyesore someplace in the meantime. Around this same time a radio talkshow with recyclers in Washington, DC and in Seattle came to the conclusion that the move to supersize the bins did not produce savings as planned because residents grew more careless about sorting and preparing things for the curbside pick-up. As a result, the sorting facility had to filter out the contaminants (non-recyclables). The upshot is that what once just about paid for itself (value of materials equaled the costs to run the service) now ended up costing more to run than the original tub-based system. Going bigger just seems to mean less care, and more consumption.

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