Recycle Bins Increase Yield
COLUMBIA- Eighteen hundred homes in North Columbia increased their recycling output by almost 50% over this time last year. The pilot program is designed to test the usefulness of recycling bins in lieu of bags used other places in the city. The average time for bin pick up routes is about 2.5 hours longer than similar routes using bags.
Norman Oehrle is a retired elementery school principal who has taken advantage of the bins. "I like it a lot, because it gives me a place to put my recyclable materials, especially my paper products," he said.
Columbia Waste Minimization Supervisor Layli Terrill said the program is a good idea for a city with modest recycling rates. "Columbians are just average recyclers. When we compare ourselves to the rest of the nation, we do what they do. So we have a lot of room for growth."
So far, the program has collected 125 tons of recyclable material from the 1800 homes.
Tom Elliott is a supervisor at the Columbia Material Recovery Facility.
"The biggest benefit for us is the lack of blue bags," he said.
Houses not in the program use blue recycling bags. At the facility, those bags are torn apart so plastic and glass containers can be placed on sorting belts.
"We are seeing a lot cleaner stuff from the new bins. In the bags, people tend to put non recyclable stuff in there. That happens a lot less with the bins."
The bins do have drawbacks though. Containers in the bins fill with water when it rains, making them heavy.
The pilot program ends in February.