(ab)Using the blue giant

90-gallon recycling bins, only every two weeks folks!

90-gallon recycling bins, only every two weeks folks!

Prompted by fellow Austin Metblogger odoublegood tweeting about neighbours who’d put out their new giant(90-gallon) blue single stream recycling bin, as normal, instead of the new bi-weekly cycle. I checked down my street and sure enough, probably about a 1/5 of Residents had done the same, but our week was last week, and will be next week, but isn’t this week.

Then I stared vacantly into my blue meanie bin. As I live alone, the chances of me filling this by next Tuesday are remote. I was just thinking about it when the regular garbage truck came by to pick up my small size garbage bin. It’s a quick and relatively efficient process, an automated arm grabs the bin, lifts it, shake it into the truck. Since we’ve only had one single stream pick-up since I got my bin, and I wasn’t here, I can only assume it’s a similar process.

That being the case, it struck me that theres no real reason why you should put out a half empty Single stream recycling blue meanie bin. If yours will survive for a full month before putting it out, why not do that?

After all, it should have no perishables in it to attract vermin, flys etc. Nothing to create a bad odour or a health hazard. At the same time it will speed the collection up, reduce noise, and reduce the amount of gas the city uses to collect the contents. That must be a good thing. If only 1/6 of the homes with these bins could put them out monthly when full instead of biweekly, the difference would surely be noticeable and a useful saving in time and money.

Oh yeah, and if you do put both bins out, the machines still need enough space between the green and blue bins to pick them up separately.
Austin Single Stream recycling
[Update: So, I’ve been getting emails from neighbors about this, one has already offered to fill my bin with her recycling, since she lives in an apartment complex that doesn’t recycle and won’t. Secondly, another just didn’t get the point, so here’s some simple maths. Say 30-seconds per half empty bin, say maybe 20,000 half empty bins across the city, that means a wasted 166-hours, and running the pickups large gas fueled engine for the same length of time… ]

3 Comments so far

  1. lauratex on December 9th, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

    Good points. I know a few of the peeps on our neighborhood list have said that the large size pose a problem for them because they have bad backs, etc. So if you’re frail, then maybe filling it up might pose a challenge in getting it to the curb. And if I filled it with glass bottles, I might have trouble moving it, dunno.

    The main tragedy or potential tragedy is that prices for recyclables have plummeted. Which brings us back to the first 2 tenets of the trio – REDUCE and REUSE. Then recycle.

  2. odoublegood on December 9th, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

    Those who have no driveway, or a postage-stamp yard, or a narrow driveway, or steep terrain, or bodily disabilities or weaknesses will not wheel out these giants at all or will wheel them out as often as they’re able, because the more they hold the more difficult they are to deal with. We have very little glass or metal, but fill two brown market bags a week with newsprint. It’s heavy, and we won’t wait for it to fill, because these carts are unwieldy for those not gargantuan or generally Samson-like in strength who must wheel them on a surface that is not paved and not level. I’ve noticed the sonic drawbacks with containers this large; there’s a very long drop to the bottom and some neighbors pitch their glass and metal in during the nighttime hours, competing with the APD helicopter to interrupt the sleep of the just. These truly do take up a large amount of space for those who don’t have much. I have heard that "they" thought that, if one-size-fits-all was required, there’d be fewer complaints about large bins than about small ones.

  3. People Over Process » Links for December 9th through December 10th (pingback) on December 10th, 2008 @ 11:04 am

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