Pilot recycling program begins in county

Oct. 26, 2013 @ 11:46 AM

Starting this week, 2,000 unincorporated Durham County residents on the Monday A (North of the Eno) and Tuesday B (South of the Eno) recycling routes will receive a special delivery.   As part of the Roll Out Recycling Pilot Program, these households will receive green 95- gallon roll carts to temporarily replace their blue 18-gallon recycling bins.

These recycling customers will place their household recyclables in their green roll carts instead of their blue bins for the next eight months.  The Monday A and Tuesday B routes were selected based on current levels of participation, the number of households on each route and the density of households.

When Durham County’s unincorporated residential recycling program began in the early 1980s, ####, every-other-week collection with 18-gallon bins was more than sufficient to capture all of the material residents were able to recycle.  Fast forward 23 years, and we know that that is no longer the case.  Advances in the recycling industry have made it so that we can recycle more items than ever before, and an increased environmental awareness among citizens has more people wanting to recycle all of those additional items.   Unfortunately, that has been difficult with our current program that uses 18-gallon bins.  The carts that are being distributed should help  as just one of these green roll carts can hold as much as what is recycled in five blue bins.  

We expect our customers to experience other benefits with the roll carts, besides just being able to recycle more items.  Carts will be much easier to maneuver since they are on wheels and can be pushedrolled, instead of carried, to the curb.   The carts also come with a lid.  This will protect recyclables from being scattered in the wind and from being scavenged by animals.

The Roll Out Recycling Pilot Program will run from Nov 5 through June 30, 2014.  During this time, data will be collected on participation rates and the amount of material recycled.  Most communities in our area, including the City of Durham, have already successfully made the switch from 18-gallon bins to larger roll carts for recycling.  These communities experienced an increase in both of those areas.  Our current participation rate averages 35 percent and we collect an average of 96 tons of recyclables a month.  By increasing participation and the amount of material collected, our recycling program will become more efficient and less waste will be sent to landfills.

Homes on the Monday A and Tuesday B Routes were mailed postcards last week.   Roll carts will arrive this week, and you can begin using the cart the following week.   Be sure to check the handle of the roll cart for additional information including Frequently Asked Questions and instructions on how to use the cart.  Residents in the pilot program should not discard their blue bin. Depending on the program’s success, you may need to go back to using the 18-gallon blue bin when the pilot ends. 

Chrissie Koroivui is waste reduction supervisor in the Durham County General Services Department.