Condo Blues: Finally Curbside Recycling!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Finally Curbside Recycling!

Hey, waitaminute Ms. Green Blogger I thought you already recycled?

Yep. We do.

We bagged our paper, glass, metal, and plastic, stuck it in the car trunk, and drove it to a city dumpster because the paid subscription service was so unreliable even die hard greenies gave up on it. The freebie dumpster option worked OK unless we got busy and the recycling piled up or I forgot to drop it off at the dumpster while running errands. I can't tell you how many times I drove around town with trash in my trunk until I remembered I had trash in my trunk.

Not to mention the other items we collect and drop off for recycling at local stores:

  1. Plastic cosmetic tubes can be recycled at any Origins store or counter
  2. Hard plastic bottle caps can be recycled at any Aveda store
  3. Batteries can be recycled at Easton Town Center (local folks) and any Batteries Plus store
  4. CFLs can be recycled at any Home Depot store
  5. Lithium ion batteries (for tools) can be recycled at any Home Depot store
  6. Eyeglasses can be recycled through the Lion's Club (your eye doctor may have a bin in their office.) The Lion's Club regrinds the lens and gives the glasses to needy people.
  7. Number 5 plastic can be recycled at Whole Foods through Preserve's Gimmie 5 Program

This isn't as crazy as it sounds (I hope) because I combine trips to a city dumpster with recycling items one through three at the mall and do a little window shopping while I'm at it (I leave my debit card at home to make sure it is just window shopping and not buying out Celebrate Local.) I don't often have items four through six, item seven is new for us. The city recycling program takes #5 bottles but not #5 tubs.

So yeah, Columbus finally got with the program and rolled out free curbside recycling.  Columbus had the lowest recycling rates around.  They were mystified why so few people didn't pay for a subscription service with an itty bitty bin that alternated between working and not or didn't want to ride around with trash in their trunk until they remembered to take it to a free city recycling dumpster. Because both options are a pain in the tush that's why!

Believe it or not, the city wasted money on a big study on this when asking why on their Facebook wall would do. The city leaders did the math and realized they better do something to change that or eventually build another landfill (no thanks.)

I gotta say it is pretty darn nice to dump our classy indoor recycling bin (the kitchen trash can from our old rental) into a curbside bin instead of road tripping it to the fire station. Best of all, I don't have to bag my recycling any more. Between careful shopping, concentrating on reusable instead of disposables, recycling, and composting our weekly trash fits into a grocery bag. My current roll of kitchen trash bags is going to last even longer than usual.

Do you have curbside recycling? How does your program work?

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LadyCiani said...

Yay! good for you. Austin TX does single-stream via curbside bins, but it's apparently fairly new still (new = less than 3 years). Coming from CA, where we've had single-stream since at least the 90s, it seems so strange that people haven't done this all their lives!

Lisa said...

Wow, my tiny town in rural Oklahoma had curbside before Columbus Ohio?! I feel so proud now. :) I'm guessing you have heard about how my town got recycling (Beth Terry even included it in her book) but in case you haven't here is my blog post about it-

I'm so happy to have curbside but we still need glass recycling in my town.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Columbus has a ton of green programs (my house is an official GreenSpot for example) and a huge local food movement. I think it came down to the city cheating out on paying for a curbside recycling program until now. Even us Eco minded folk like easy and admittedly there is nothing easier than a bin at the end of the driveway whether it is trash or recycling. Although I'm happy everyone on my block put their recycling bins out on the second collection day - yay!

Amanda said...

I recycled for years the way you described - collecting it for weeks and then making a drive over to the local recycling bins. But we finally got curbside and love it! So convenient!

Unknown said...

In my city, recycling is free as long as you have a Waste Management subscription, and, unlike with garbage waste, you're allowed unlimited overflow. The downside is it's only every other week (as in scheduled, not "they may come or they may not"), as long as it is contained. With the garbage, any extra bags outside of the can - including protruding too far out of the top - is an extra fee per bag.

CelloMom said...

So happy for you: Curbside recycling is NICE! And now we also have curbside organic waste pickup: YES! Apparently, since the program started, the town has saved $7500 a year on garbage collection. And that was just the pilot. If the recycling stream is clean enough, a town can actually make good money from the material.

Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) said...

We have had curbside recycling for as long as I've lived here (14 years) and I think it started in the early 90's after our landfill closed. Very nice and convenient. Our town recently started to enforce recycling - as in, if you aren't making the effort to recycle, your trash will not be collected. And "effort" is defined very loosely - you just need to have a recycling bin out on your collection days. Recycling is every other week, so basically you get a pass on the off weeks. You can't imagine the ruckus! Most people were supportive, but some were not happy. It seems to have calmed down. Can't wait until we renegotiate the contracts with haulers in a couple of years. People will be in for a shock as I think we will move to some sort of trash limit and you will need to pay for anything over that. Would love to see curbside composting! Not sure we'd see the savings though after paying for a separate truck to haul the materials. Massachusetts is moving toward banning food waste for large institutions/restaurants so hopefully more options for residents will be available making it more affordable for the towns.

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