If Washington residents were unaware the city’s curbside recycling program was changing, last week was a wake-up call.
Two weeks before taking over as the new solid waste collector for the city, Waste Connections crews began dropping off the brand new recycling carts for residential customers. The blue carts with yellow lids were dropped off to every customer in the city.
The carts mark a new era of recycling for the city. Gone are the old green bins, and instead residents will have a larger cart and more options for recycling.
Collection will start Monday, June 1.
Public Works Director John Nilges noted that the new 64-gallon carts are larger than the old green bins, but he said there’s a reason for that. The old bins picked up by the city were collected weekly.
Once Waste Connections takes over, recycling only will be picked up twice a month. Customers will pull their new blue bins to the curb for their first and third pickup days of the month.
Recycling will be picked up on the same day as trash pickup. The full schedule for 2020 can be found below.
Monday pickups: June 1, June 15, July 6, July 20, Aug. 3, Aug. 17, Sept. 7, Sept. 21, Oct. 5, Oct. 19, Nov. 2, Nov. 16, Dec. 7 and Dec. 21.
Tuesday pickups: June 2, June 16, July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 18, Sept. 1, Sept. 15, Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Nov. 17, Dec. 1 and Dec. 15.
Wednesday pickups: June 3, June 17, July 1, July 15, Aug. 5, Aug. 19, Sept. 2, Sept. 16., Oct. 7, Oct. 21, Nov. 4, Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and Dec. 16.
Thursday pickups: June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, Aug. 6, Aug. 20, Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Nov. 5, Nov. 19, Dec. 3 and Dec. 17.
Friday pickups: June 5, June 19, July 3, July 17, Aug. 7, Aug. 21, Sept. 4, Sept. 18, Oct. 2, Oct. 16, Nov. 6, Nov. 20, Dec. 4 and Dec. 18.
While the new cart is an obvious change for residents, it’s not really the biggest or the one the city is most excited about.
For the first time residents will be able to recycle cardboard curbside with the switch in providers. Nilges said that’s a huge advantage for the city.
While cardboard is light, Nilges noted it takes up a lot space. With the prevalence of online ordering in recent years, cardboard boxes have taken up a lot of space in trash trucks.
All the trash has, in turn, helped fill up the landfill. Nilges said if residents start recycling cardboard, the landfill will see far less waste.
The city would like to see the life span of the landfill extended. Nilges said the landfill is an advantage for residents.
The new carts will be able to hold paper, flattened cardboard, plastic bottles, plastic containers, glass bottles, glass jars, metal food cans, beverage cans, and food and beverage cartons.
The city is encouraging everyone to try out the new carts and recycle — even if just for cardboard. Nilges said the city is working on a plan to collect carts for residents who do not want one.
The new carts mean the old green bins are going to be retired. The city has said residents can do whatever they want with the old bins.
Anyone not wanting one can turn it into the city’s public works office or the recycling center. The city will work to repurpose the bins or recycle them.
Donating the bins also is an option. St. Francis Borgia Regional High School and Washington West Elementary asked followers on Facebook to consider giving the bins to the schools.
The bins would be used in the classroom for faculty and students. Information about how to donate can be found on the school’s Facebook pages.