Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

(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… ]

Single Stream Recycling

Scrap piled hile in Skagastrond, Iceland - their home of country music

The home of country music

I’d had this nagging question about the imminent introduction of the new single stream recycling bins here in Austin.

So, if we are going to dump all our recycling into a single bin, including lots of stuff previously not accepted, where is all this stuff going to get separated for recycling?

Having been to a few less than glamorous locations in China, and seen some of the hard hitting documentaries on electronic waste, I wondered, where will ours get sorted? I read through the cities single stream recycling FAQ(thats easy questions, with obvious answers to all you non-IT types) and couldn’t see anything. So this morning in the break before my next work call, CONTACTED THEM.

I asked “How and where will the stuff get recycled?” The how question was answered by machine and some people. I asked again “Where, overseas or here?” – “here” came the response. So, thats all right then. Unless you know better?

Although sort of tangential, for an insight into some of the the issues of electronic recycling, see this short video from Good Magazine. Although, if you’d seen women and childern working on their knees for 8-10 hour sessions, hand sorting garbage outside their homes, this is just an extreme illustration to make the point.

When it came to choosing the photo to accompany this post, I resisted the various pictures of children sat amongst foreign waste in developing nations, too easy. The picture above is a scrap heap pile in the town of Skagastrond, Iceland. Population 650. Skagastrond is the music capital of North Iceland(I’ve been there too, Iceland that is, there is a north??).

Photo by Wendy Crockett, licensed under creative commons, some rights reserved.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.