Michael Reeves, municipal marketing manager for Republic Services (formerly Allied Waste), said the new 96-gallon toters will be delivered to customers here this month.
Each resident will end up with at least two of the large, blue containers on wheels.
One will have a blue lid. That will be for regular household garbage and cut-up yard wastes.
The other toter will be the same size and color but it will have a green top. That container will be for recyclable materials.
Reeves said the most positive element of the recycling program will be the concept of “single stream recycling.”
When recycling first was launched in Corpus Christi, residents were given three 18-gallon containers. One of those was for metals, one for plastics and the other for paper.
“It didn’t work,” Reeves said. If someone was lazy and had no desire to separate the recyclable discards, he or she simply threw the plastics, paper and metals in the container for regular household trash and it ended up in the landfill.
“Landfills have a life span,” Reeves said. Normally that is between 50 and 80 years. But when a landfill is used up, more land must be found.
“Recycling preserves landfills,” Reeves told the City Council last Tuesday.
These days with single stream recycling, separating cans, plastics and paper is no longer necessary. Customers simply throw all the recyclables into the one container and set it at the curb twice a month. Republic takes care of separating the contents.
Currently, recyclable collections are going to be scheduled for the first and third Monday of each month.
Reeves asked that containers, like empty food and drink cans, milk jugs and such, be rinsed out before being discarded.
Most paper will be recyclable. Reeves said the technology was recently installed at Republic’s Materials Recovery Facility at Corpus Christi that will allow the company to accept slicker paper, like that found in phone book and magazine covers.
Newspaper, envelopes, cereal and cracker boxes, corrugated cardboard (as long as it is collapsed) and now even pizza boxes can be tossed in the recyclable toters.
Steel, tin and aluminum cans also can go in the bin if they have been rinsed. And plastic items like milk jugs, soft drink bottles and laundry detergent jugs can be disposed of in the containers after they have been rinsed.
“It does make a difference,” Reeves told the council.
Items that cannot be recycled will include rubber balls, glass, plastic shopping bags, Styrofoam, garden hoses and clothes hangers.
Reeves said each toter will have information reminding residents what can be recycled and what cannot.
When the rolling containers are first delivered, the crews will place them where they would like to see them on collection days. Reeves said that will most likely be in the street near the curb.
The first collection of recyclable materials will be on Monday, Jan. 2. Residents are encouraged to have their green-topped toters in place by 7:30 on the morning of collection.
The collection dates for regular trash have not yet been decided. But Reeves said Republic will try to schedule the collection days as close as possible to those currently used.
The most significant difference is that regular trash collection will be only once a week and not twice.
Reeves said Republic will continue to collect trash on different days for the four sections of the city. The larger toters should be able to hold an entire week’s discards, considering that much of what is normally thrown in the trash now will go in the recycling container.
Residents who need additional toters will be able to get them for a fee.
Reeves said the toters are being issued to each household or commercial customer. They will not belong to individual residents. When a customer moves, the toters are to remain at the original residence and should not be moved.
The marketing manager reminded council members that the new method of collecting solid wastes will be more uniform, more efficient and, above all, a lot safer.
The new trucks will have equipment that will reach out to the toters, lift them above the back of the trash truck and empty them from the side of the truck. The man following the truck and emptying trash cans into the back of a truck will be only a memory.
However, it was those workers who followed the trucks who were most often injured. And most of those injuries were caused by motorists who did not pay attention when driving by a trash truck.
Reeves said that there is one safety concern for the drivers of the new trucks. Because the toters are lifted high above the back of the vehicle, he said residents should avoid placing their toters under power lines.
If a toter is left in an unsafe location or someplace where the truck’s equipment cannot reach it, that trash will not be collected that day.
City Councilman John Fulghum mentioned that some residents have built special enclosures at the curb for their trash cans to keep them from blowing over or being knocked over by animals.
Reeves said the new toters will be immune to those problems. The containers weigh 40-45 pounds by themselves and they are not likely to blow over in a high wind. Animals will not be able to knock them to the ground and open the lids.
Fulghum said he has an enclosure for his own trash cans and asked Reeves what he and other residents should do with their enclosures.
“Those,” Reeves said, “will become special antiques.”
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.