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Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

Could Rochester get rid of the blue recycling bins?

The city put out a Request for Proposals for a consultant to examine its residential and commercial recycling pickup system. Right now, people put recyclables in a blue bin alongside their garbage totes on pickup day. Workers separate the items in the blue bins into one of two compartments on the truck – paper and containers. The city’s recyclables go to the Monroe County recycling center.

The city’s RFP comes on the heels of Monroe County contracting with Waste Management to run the recycling center. WM will move the facility into a “single-stream” recycling model. This means there will no longer be a need for residents and municipal workers to separate their recyclables. It’s done right at the plant.

Cities and towns that have gone to single-stream recycling often find increased recycling participation. It can also mean fewer workers are needed to man garbage trucks. In some cases, residents are given large recycle totes to replace the blue bins. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports on what’s happening in Onondaga County:

A garbage hauler that serves 20,000 homes is starting to replace the blue bins with much larger, lidded plastic containers.

The recycling and garbage containers will be picked up by an automatic truck, eliminating the need for anyone on the truck but a driver.

Dependable Disposal passed out the new 95-gallon cans to 2,200 households the company serves in Onondaga Hill and Baldwinsville. If it’s successful, Steve Morgan, the company’s owner, plans to expand. He is the sixth-largest hauler in the county.

There are lots of benefits to the 95-gallon can. It holds as much as seven bins. It can fit an entire pizza box: No crushing needed. And it has a lid — no newspapers flying around the neighborhood and no soggy boxes.

It would not be surprising if the city study results in this kind of plan. Suburban towns, depending on their contractors, could also make the switch as the county goes to single-stream recycling.

Links of the Day:

– A Brookings study ranks Rochester high in number of patents per jobs.

A Geneseo barber shop is closing after 70 years in business.

Chicken coops, not a casino, make money for Buffalo.

“There is no evidence that a gun in the home is protective for the woman.”

– An Alaskan borough wants to give away a ferry that’s a drain on finances.


– The city is proposing to make Probert St. will be one-way northbound by end of the year. Driveways to East Ave. Wegmans will be removed.

11 Responses to Days of Blue Bins Numbered?

  1. Having been associated with a recycling effort many years ago, I have to wonder how much of the material collected is recycled, and how much is tossed? Prices for recycled materials vary almost daily and unless you are willing to store some materials until prices recover, it’s just trash.

  2. February 1, 2013 at 11:02 am Dan Howell responds:

    We have single stream recycling at RIT and I love it. I would be thrilled to not have two way-to-small recycling bins now that we can recycle numbers 1-7. Our bins are overflowing every week while our garbage tote has one, maybe 2 bags in it. I would gladly welcome this change!

  3. I’ve watched my recyclables being thrown into the garbage bin and tossed into the truck. i’m NOT happy about this. And I’m not happy that I have more recyclables than garbage yet we’re stuck with the tiny blue bin! How do I get new ones? Someone down the street (single family home) has SEVEN bins. I need that. I’m ready spray paint one of my bins pink and call it a recycling bin….

  4. This is great. On a windy day, half of the items meant to be recycled end up being litter.

    Note to residents: NO PLASTIC BAGS. take them to the grocery store!

    I also know that the only way to recycle Styrofoam in Monroe County is to personally drop it off at the Eco park. I hope this changes.

  5. February 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm Reggie Henderson responds:

    I have two recycle bins. I don’t mind at all separating my containers and newspapers. A covered container would be nice though. I would rather go towards more separation. A container for paper, containers, and then another one for all the special stuff (batteries, flourescent bulbs, computers, etc). I don’t mind separating my stuff, but I’m not inclined towards taking things to a recycling center myself.

  6. February 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm Matthew McDermott responds:

    If it’s more convenient for the end user to recycle, that seems like a win to me. I always thought it was strange that we had a relatively small recycling bin and a huge trash can.

    In some other cities there is an incentive program run by recyclebank.com – I don’t know all the particulars, but basically you get points or credits for recycling and you can redeem the points for rewards (a lot like a frequent flyer program for recycling). More recycling = more points for residents and less trash for the municipality to send to the landfill. I’d love to see if we could incorporate something like that here.

  7. Again. … I thought the city had no money?

    Now they pay a consultant to study garbage? Can’t use what another city did as proof it works or doesn’t and then move ahead? No one in the CITY employ today has that skill set, no MBA no free work from Simon School?

    Thats what most would do with no money. When will reporters ask that question, I thought you said you have no money(?) again and again and again until our leaders are afraid to waste money?

  8. We asked for a big one years ago and they refused to give us one. They do have them for businesses. Input out 2-4 bins a week.

  9. February 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm Catherine Root responds:

    I need a larger recycle bin and smaller garbage tote. Somehow over the years I ended up with two recycle bins that are filled to overflowing each week and I put the garbage to the curb about once a month.

    Making it easier for those who “can’t be bothered” to help their environment seems like a good plan.
    Though at the same time, I don’t understand how so many people find it difficult to recycle. I somehow manage to strain my brain and figure out the difference between paper and a container each week, and separate accordingly. I guess, though I’m not a rocket scientist, my IQ is still above the median level.

  10. All for it, except for the automated truck which equals loss of jobs. I can’t see how jobless rates will ever improve if people reducing technology continues.

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