By KRISTI McCANN
The reusable bins that were purchased for 1,800 homes as part of a pilot recycling program are proving to be effective, though some tweaking still needs to be done if the bins are to replace the blue bag system citywide.
The homes involved in the pilot program, which began at the end of February and willcontinue through February 2011, are all located north of Interstate 70 in the Parkade, Hunter’s Gate and Vanderveen neighborhoods, which all have Friday trash pickup.
“I think it’s a great program,” said Lynn McKinney, 64, a resident of the Parkade neighborhood. “Everybody uses (the bins) because it’s so simple.”
As previously reported in the Missourian, the 18-gallon bins were bought with a $30,400 grant from Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District and the Department of Natural Resources to take the place of the blue plastic bags to hold recyclables, Public Works Department spokeswoman Jill Stedem said.
Between Feb. 26 and March 26 — the first full month the reusable bins were used — the weight of recycled products in the Hunter’s Gate and Vanderveen neighborhoods increased by 10.7 percent from the previous year. The amount increased even more in the Parkade neighborhood, a 14.8 percent increase from the previous year, according to the recycling activities report.
The pilot program’s goal was to increase curbside recycling by 5 percent. Just within the first few months, this number has already been doubled, said Solid Waste Utility Manager Richard Wieman.
Layli Terrill, waste minimization supervisor for the city, said that by personally observing the neighborhoods, she would estimate there has been about a 25 percent increase in the number of homes that have started to recycle since February.
The bins have become a permanent fixture, whereas bags can easily be hidden, said Don Spradling, president of the Parkade Neighborhood Association.
“The kids see it and help remind us we need to recycle,” he said. “When your 5-year-old daughter says, ‘Doesn’t that kill a dolphin, Daddy?’ it’s hard not to recycle.”
Need more bins?
If residents in the area of the pilot program find they have recycling overflow from week to week, they may call Waste Minimization Supervisor Layli Terrill at 573-874-6291 to request additional bins.