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Recology Smart Carts: How Are They Working?

November 11, 2010 Living in San Carlos 17 Comments
Recology Carts

How is the Change?

By now, most residents of San Carlos have received their new garbage and recycle carts from Recology, the company that will be assuming garbage and recycle collection service in San Carlos starting on January 1 of 2011.  Some residents, like those in parts of Oak Park and White Oaks, have had their new carts for nearly a month, so they’ve had ample time to formulate their opinion on the new service.

While much has remained the same with the service — Allied Waste is still picking up the trash and recycles until January 1 — a few things are significantly different from before.   And according to the informational sessions that Recology has been hosting recently, not all of the change has been positive.

New Carts, Different Service.

There are several notable changes in how garbage and recyclables are collected in the new bins.  First of all, every household got a standard 32 gallon wheeled garbage cart, which is admittedly smaller than what many residents were previously using.    This was likely not an accident, since there has been an ongoing effort to divert more and more of what we consider “garbage” from going to our landfill.  So to make the smaller garbage cart useful for more families, Recology has broadened the scope of what can be recycled — food scraps, food-soiled paper products, etc — thus diverting more garbage.

“Hard” recycling is different too.  Rather than sort paper products from the cans and bottles, you now simply dump them all in the blue wheeled cart.  This obviously makes it more conducive for everyone to recycle, but I have to imagine its a nightmare sorting it all out at the transfer station.

Growing Pains.

Like anything that’s new, there are always growing pains — and this has been no exception.  With all of that stuff that was previously considered garbage now finding its way into the recycle carts, those carts are filling up much more quickly than before.   With the previous service, you were allowed to put as many recycle bins on pick-up day as you liked — at no additional charge.    The new Recology service only allows one blue cart every other week — if you need a second bin, there’s an additional charge.   This certainly doesn’t encourage people to take the extra effort to recycle if the blue cart is bursting at the seams long before it’s due to be picked up.

And there has been confusion in some neighborhoods during the roll-out period as far as what gets picked up when, resulting in some full carts sitting full on the curbside for days, leaving residents frustrated.

Better or Worse?

So what is your impression of the new service so far?   Admittedly, it’s still early for some neighborhoods as they got the new carts last week.  But has the change been good, or was it better before?   Make sure to vote in the poll in the right sidebar of the blog, or voice your thoughts in the comment section below.
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