Blue bin special - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Blue bin special

City's recycling program sees dramatic increase

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Posted: Saturday, December 4, 2010 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Matt Kurkowski is one of the few who isn't mainstream by having switched to single stream.

Unlike many Coeur d'Alene residents, Kurkowski hasn't made the leap to the more inclusive recycling system since the city implemented it in October.

"I do believe in it, I guarantee I totally believe in it," Kurkowski said. "But right now I just haven't used it."

Put him in the minority.

Since the 16,000 blue recycling totes were rolled out, participation has increased by 100 percent. Now, around 54 percent of Coeur d'Alene citizens recycle, up from 27 percent when the city relied on the smaller, less-inclusive blue bins.

In this case, double the participation means nearly triple the tonnage. Waste Management collected 120,000 pounds in its first month of collection - a 140 percent increase in materials.

But in the last few weeks the volume is closer to three times its original amount, said Keith Lund, waste management spokesman.

"I would say we didn't quite expect this much," he said. "We expected a fair increase, but I'd say it's a little bit more than expected. I think the convenience is the No. 1 factor in that."

Essentially, residents dump everything in the bin and let the truck sort it out. More plastics, office paper and cardboard are some of the additions that increased recyclables from seven to 17.

"It's greatly reduced the amount I throw away," said Jeanette Dunn, Coeur d'Alene resident, "Now I can get a smaller garbage bin."

Dunn had brought a bigger trash can before the city made the switch to single stream that reduced that need. She also noticed her guests from other areas were used to recycling items that Coeur d'Alene didn't before - but now does.

"They were always putting stuff in my recycle bin that couldn't be recycled," she said. "I think it's about time."

There had to be one hiccup, however, and that's weather.

Collection crews can't navigate through alleys with so much snow, so residents are being asked to put their recycling and garbage bins on the main street fronting their homes until spring.

Snow's the reason Kurkowski hasn't jumped on board, too. He has been too busy digging out before he sets his 64-gallon bin out, he said.

Some items haven't been recycled as much either, and they should be. Those include cereal boxes, cracker boxes and junk mail, according to the city.

But the program's early success has the city's collector, Bluebird Recycling in Coeur d'Alene, considering expanding its facility to handle the loads, said Troy Tymesen, city finance director. The area is also looking to locate a material recovery station in the area as neighboring towns possibly make the switch to single stream.

Meanwhile, the next phase will be implementing commercial single-stream recycling, which the city hopes to provide by March.

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  • SnoopyWoopy posted at 4:11 am on Wed, Dec 21, 2011.

    SnoopyWoopy Posts: 14

    I feel so much joy when I read this article. I'm very happy that we have people who care about the environment and who fight for protecting it the best they can. Maybe in the future there could be partnerships between SLC junk removal local companies and nearby colleges. That would surely send a powerful message to the community.

  • rollingthunder posted at 2:54 pm on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    rollingthunder Posts: 401

    Nutter watch, that is an excellent idea and the county should go one step farther and have a place at each manned dumpster sites for the same purpose. That makes to much sense and The Three Stooges have a habit of making poor judgement decisions.

  • jarman posted at 9:38 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    jarman Posts: 2

    I'm not sure if Waste Management is connected to Post Falls Sanitation, but we have put our blue bin out at the street for months, neatly organized, and it never gets emptied. We have even tried putting with our neighbor's bins, to no luck. (our neighbors do not recycle).

    Shame on them that they discourage recycling. Now, we do our recycling the old fashioned way and use the handy blue bin for kids toys.

    Shame on them, a waste management company saying they do a "recycling program" and yet never doing the work. Oh well, we get a free plastic bin out of the deal - there's always something positive that can be gained even from unsuccessful programs!

  • Nutter Watch posted at 8:56 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    Nutter Watch Posts: 476

    The waste transfer station on Ramsey should consider establishing a "Too good to waste" facility on site where tools, appliances, furniture, paints and solvents can be dropped off and then made available to individuals that can repair or put them to further use.

  • dasher posted at 7:22 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    dasher Posts: 205

    This has been a huge change in our household. I even started saving things that were going to be taken once we got our blue bins. It's a step in the right direction. Now...when are we going to get glass back on the recycle list?

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