Watching Our Wasteline: Farm to Fork diverts 99% of event trash; blue recycling carts roll out

Jun. 14, 2014 @ 02:33 PM

Last week’s annual Farm to Fork fundraiser picnic for the Breeze Farm and the Center for Environmental Farming systems to train new farmers diverted almost every bit of its waste to either recycling or composting through Orange County Solid Waste Management and Brooks Contractor. They ended up with just one bag of trash for 1,000 people. Now in the fourth year, the event organizers have waste management down to a science and almost all the farmers, chefs and attendees know the drill – don’t serve or use anything that can’t be recycled or composted and then do so. Even the wine corks and ice bags are reused or recycled!

The local chapter of the Boys and Girls club held a cookout at the Pine Knolls Community Center recently and diverted about 50 percent of its waste through composting and recycling provided by Orange County, with about 50 participants.

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Through the month of June, all single family residences in Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough will be receiving blue roll carts to replace the recycling bins that have been used for the program’s first 25 years. The bright blue Rehrig Pacific 95-gallon carts are being distributed by contractor Buckeye Diamond Logistics. Start using the carts beginning the week of June 30 on your regular recycling day. Until that week, continue using the blue bins, then either recycle them in the cart or repurpose them. After June 30 they will not be picked up at the curb.

Julia Green, a Chapel Hill resident said of her family’s newly delivered cart, “The new recycling carts are both thrilling and convenient. Rarely do we fill our garbage bin, but every week our recycling bin ‘overfloweth.’ Furthermore, single stream recycling that now includes plastic tubs is easier for residents who no longer have to go to a solid waste convenience center to recycle them.   I'm sure the data the county collects will show that large, rolling carts inspire more people to recycle more of their waste.”
Below are a few of the frequently asked questions about the cart program:
Why Carts?
1) Carts provide additional storage capacity for recyclable material, easier handling and carts are compatible with newly purchased automated collection trucks to increase route collection efficiency and reduce worker injury.
2) Each new 95-gallon cart has approximately the same capacity as 5 to 6 of the 18-gallon blue bins.
3) Collection remains weekly and on the same day for all but about 400 homes that are being notified individually of their day change.

When will I get my new cart?
1) Carts will be delivered daily throughout the three-week process that began June 9 and will conclude June 28.
2)  It is difficult to pinpoint the exact day one particular address will receive the new cart.
3) If a resident is away on vacation/leave for a week or two during the deployment, we ask that they work out with a family member or neighbor to bring their cart in off the curb to a secure location.

What do I do with my old, blue bin?
1) Residents may keep their blue bin(s) for storage around their residence.
2) They can recycle the blue bin by placing the bin in the new cart to be recycled at any time during the month of July. The county may reuse bins that are in good condition, clean them and place them in school classrooms, or bins will be recycled by the cart manufacturer into new bins carts or other molded plastics.

Can I still use the blue bin and place it at the curb?
1) Starting the week of June 30, only contents placed in the new cart will be collected. No material left outside the cart or material left in a blue bin next to the cart will be collected by the contractor.
2)  Elderly or handicapped residents can be placed on the county’s special service list to collect the new cart from a predetermined, designated location (such as near their garage or on the side of their property).
3) Residents are encouraged to place the new cart at the curb only when it is close to full. This helps reduce work by the resident, increases collection efficiency for the contractor and saves fuel.

I do not want the cart! It’s too big, or I can’t find room for it. Is there another option to recycle curbside?
1) If a resident does not desire a cart, call Orange County Solid Waste and we will place the name on a list and collect the new cart from the residence within a few days.  Should a resident continue to want to recycle but not utilize curbside service, residents may bring their recyclable material directly to a solid waste convenience center or any 24-hour recycling drop-off facility.
2) Orange County Solid Waste encourages residents to keep the cart and try using it for at least one month. After that timeframe, should  the resident find they are unable to accommodate the new cart, please call the office at (919) 968-2788 and the Recycling Division will collect it from their residence within a few days.
3) There is no smaller container available, only the 95-gallon cart.

What about if I want a second cart?
If a resident wants another cart, the cost is $60 for a long-term lease that covers all repairs and other problems. However, we encourage residents to try using one cart for at least one month to determine if a single cart will be sufficient. If after one month, they desire an additional cart, they can call the office in August and Orange County Solid Waste will deliver another cart after receipt of payment by cash or check.

Cart Rules
1) Carts should be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. on their regularly scheduled collection day and taken in after collection like a trash cart.
2) Place the cart with about 3 feet clearance from obstructions like trees, mailboxes, parked cars or other carts. 
3) All recycling items should fit loosely in each cart with the top securely closed.  No items left outside the cart will be collected.
4) No plastic bags or garbage in the recycling cart.
5) Small cups and tubs labeled #2, 4 and 5 can now be placed directly in the new cart.  These are items such as yogurt cups and Tupperware.
6) Rinse out cart periodically with a garden hose to keep odors to a minimum.

What does the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip do?
1) The RFID tag links automatically the cart to a specific address and tracks when the cart is placed for collection at the curb.  It cannot track any of the contents placed in the cart or know the cart’s weight. RFID will help to track participation rates and enhance the county’s ability to target educational and outreach efforts.

I live outside of the Towns, when are we getting carts?
1) The FY 14/15 budget recommends the purchase roll carts for some of those residences that currently receive rural curbside collection, bi-weekly.  If the budget is adopted, cart deployment is anticipated to begin in November or December 2014.  Educational flyers and other material will likely be sent to rural curbside residents in late summer, early fall alerting them of the availability of these new carts.  It is likely residents will  have a choice on whether to receive a new 95-gallon roll cart, or remain using the 18-gallon orange bin.