Now that the new black-and-bright-green curbside recycling carts have been in place a full month, Emmet County Recycling staff is offering an initial report on the project.
Residents’ response to the carts has been very positive. Both Denny Keiser, Supervisor of Bear Creek Township, and Bill Fraser, Mayor of Petoskey, said that many residents told them how happy they were to have the carts and neither had heard any complaints. Jayna Steffel of Emmet County Recycling was on the phone taking customer calls about the carts for three weeks solid as the carts were delivered. “People like the ease of rolling them out, the capacity to hold more cardboard, the lid to keep paper and cardboard contained and dry, and just the look of the carts,” Steffel reported. “I believe, ‘lovely,’ was the most common word used.”
The drivers servicing the carts and totes had a rough few transitional weeks. “After the first few days of the carts being delivered, we serviced the neighborhoods where the crews had already delivered carts. Many people hadn’t brought their new cart in yet, so I was making a lot of extra stops only to find an empty cart which just hadn’t been claimed yet,” said driver Nick Guymer. “And, as expected, there were some folks who didn’t understand that they still need to separate their containers from their paper and cardboard. So there has been a lot of education to do.”
Guymer offered the following three tips for cart users:
- Be aware of overhead wires, trees and streetlights when setting out your cart. “The cart goes way up in the air over the side of the truck and could take out a power line if we’re not all careful,” he explained.
- Set your cart out for service only when ¾ full. “More convenient for you and more efficient for us.”
- Take cardboard larger than 2 feet by 2 feet to a drop site. Larger cardboard can get caught as it enters the hopper inside the truck, requiring the driver to climb up the side of the truck and try to force it down. “Totally inefficient and imagine doing that in a driving rain or snowstorm…” said Guymer.
Regarding the results of the investment in carts, ECR Director Elisa Seltzer said, “It’s really too early to say how the carts are affecting the volume of recyclables collected or participation, but we couldn’t resist taking a look.“ The very initial numbers look good. Comparing July 2016 to July 2015, volume of material collected was up 25% and set outs (average daily number of households and businesses collected from) were up 6%.
Commenting on the later statistic, Seltzer said, “We really didn’t know what to expect the carts to do to set outs: on the one hand with the huge added capacity—the carts almost tripled capacity for most customers–many households won’t need to set out their recyclables as often, which would reduce set outs. However, many households that weren’t previously using curbside recycling service started when they received the cart. And that would increase set outs. We are very curious to see where this number levels out.”
For more information on the residential recycling carts, visit EmmetRecycling.org or call 231-348-0640.