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127 Recycling 2009-09-21

recycling center

An article in the Tennessean, the Nashville paper, discussed the seemingly ineffectiveness of the curbside recycling program in the Metro area.

I spent the morning reading the article as well as the attached reports. The problem with these types of reports (and the people who blog about the data) is that the report gives general figures without explanations. The numbers are presented and can easily be interpreted or misinterpreted to justify any ends.

I tried to think about how the curbside program works in our neighborhood. So here’s a few recycled thoughts:

  • The problem isn’t necessarily with the recycling program as much as it is with the users of the program. As I daily walk, run, and bicycle the streets of my neighborhood I regularly see misuse of the collection system. Trash receptacles are regularly filled with recyclable items and the recycle containers are regularly filled with trash. Most folks plead ignorance, but then the next week, them seem no smarter as the trash can are still filled with recyclable items. As an example of my disgust, one neighbor I have seems to think he is tricking the truck driver into picking up his recycling can, filled with assorted trash. He takes delight in his deceit. It seems just too easy to just throw it away and forget about it.
  • The pickup for recycling is only once a month, for trash is is once a week. We have two recycling cans, which are filled to the brim each month. Our trash can is barely used. We have go to the recycling center to recycle the overflow.
  • The truck only picks up what is in the bin. If you also have a stack of cardboard neatly sitting my the bin, the truck is not designed to pick the bulk cardboard up. We have to drive the cardboard to a recycling center. We generally slice the cardboard pieces into smaller sizes so they fit better in the container.
  • The program does not include glass. We have to collect glass separately and take it to the recycling center.
  • Charging a fee for garbage collection might increase recycling participation, but it would also increase illegal dumping by irresponsible citizens.

I am sure the Nashville Metro Recycling Program is not the best ever, but it is a good start. For those of us who dutifully use the program each month, we say ’I care’ as we wheel the bin toward the curb. We participants understand, we are responsible for the lifespan of the products that we buy and the products packaging. We have no recourse but to recycle and reuse. Hmmm. I guess we could also just reduce, or use less.

links - http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090920/ GREEN02/

Happy green trails.


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