City stays 'green' with bigger recycling bins
PRESCOTT – Rob Waskow keeps one of the city's new blue recycling dumpsters in his office, filled with one week's worth of cans, magazines, and junk mail from his own home.
During a normal week, Waskow said, his recycled materials in-creased by about five pounds by using the new, expanded recycling guidelines.
Starting in the next two weeks, Prescott garbage collection customers will be able to take advantage of the new recycling system.
Crews will deliver the new 32-gallon recycling carts to Prescott homes beginning on April 17. Customers should begin using the new carts by the next week, April 24.
Waskow, the city's solid waste superintendent, used the blue cart in his home as an example to show residents how they should use their own new carts.
Over the past several weeks, the city has conducted six meetings to pass that information on to the city's garbage collection customers.
It's crunch time now: the new collection trucks have arrived, and about 12,900 new recycling dumpsters will go out to residents next week.
Since 1992, the city has conducted a curb-side recycling program. For years, residents kept small crates in their homes for recyclable materials and put the filled crates out every week for city crews to collect. Two trucks carrying two workers each made the rounds five days a week, picking up and separating the recycled materials at the curb-side.
But in 1999, city officials faced a choice – add another truck and two-person crew, replace the two worn-out trucks, and continue with a limited amount of recyclables; or automate the system with new carts and trucks and expand the types of materials that the city would recycle.
Either way, the city was looking at higher costs and higher garbage collection fees.
The Prescott City Council chose the second option and authorized buying new carts and new automated trucks. With the new system, each truck will require just one worker.
Since January, city customers have been paying $1.50 per month more to help pay for the new system. The overall garbage collection rate went up from $11 per month to $12.50.
The council also entered an agreement with the City of Flagstaff's collection center to accept the recycled materials.
Under the new system, residents will have two wheeled carts – the green cart for regular trash, and a new blue one for the recycled items.
The new program will allow customers to recycle a wide variety of waste items including:
• Metal, such as steel food cans, wire, scrap metal, empty aerosol cans, and small appliances.
• Flattened cardboard boxes.
• Aluminum, such as beverage cans, frozen dinner trays and pie plates.
• Plastics containers with a code 1 or 2 on the bottom (no plastic bags).
• Magazines – glue-bound or stapled.
• Newspaper placed in a brown paper grocery bag or bundled and tied.
• Junk mail, including self-sealing and window envelopes, and all types of paper. Residents should place junk mail in a brown paper grocery bag.
• Chip board, including cereal boxes, tissue boxes, cracker boxes, and gift boxes. (No bar soap or detergent boxes, frozen food, or beer and soda carriers).
Although the new program will expand the types of recyclable materials, it will also exclude one material – glass. Waskow said the Flagstaff center accepts no glass. So, if customers want to recycle glass products, they will have to save them in a separate container – the city will be leaving the old crates for customers for that purpose – and take them to one of six collection centers in the community.
The glass collection centers include: the Safeway stores on White Spar Road and Willow Creek Road; the Depot Marketplace at Sheldon and Montezuma; Fry's on Miller Valley and Fair Street; the former ABCO on West Gurley; Costco on Highway 69 and Walker Road; and the city's transfer station at 2800 Sundog Ranch Road.
The new automated trucks will pick up the recycled materials on the same day that trucks collect the regular trash. The city is asking people to place the recycling cart on one side of the driveway, and the trash cart on the other. Once the crews collect the recycled materials, the T & H Con-struction company will haul it to the Flagstaff separation center.
City officials hope that the convenience of the new carts, as well as the expanded materials, will encourage Prescott residents to recycle more.
Currently, the program diverts about 8 percent of the city's trash from the landfill. Under the new program that should increase to about 18 percent, Waskow said.
"Eventually, we would like to see it at about 20 percent to 22 percent," he said. "It will depend on the customers and how willing they are to participate."