Comments on: Council OKs Recycling, Transit, Shelter it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Rici Rici Wed, 18 Nov 2009 20:14:48 +0000 I’m not sure how a single bin for trash and recycling, alternating weeks for pickup, would work in practice. We don’t fill up our bin every week either, but we are generating both trash and recycling each week. If I have to keep it separate until the time it can be picked up, I’d rather have those storage containers also be the pickup containers! What am I missing here?

By: Kevin Bolon Kevin Bolon Mon, 09 Nov 2009 23:43:20 +0000 “The new recycling carts will take up no more floor space than two bins do now.” That’s true, if you keep your bins on the floor, and not on top of the trash bin for storage, as we do. I also know some residents who keep their bins indoors, as the receptacle for recycling.

Most Ann Arbor residents will likely find a way to handle the extra cart, I don’t doubt. I can only speak for the situation in our 80 unit townhouse-style condominium community, where each unit has a small single car garage, and carts must be kept indoors according to the association rules. Even the smallest (32 gallon) trash cart takes up valuable space in the garage. The option to use the same cart for either trash or recycling would be very attractive for households in our situation, since we normally don’t generate enough trash or recycling to put them both out on the same week. After all, the goal should not be a “a large recycling bin and a small trash cart”, but small carts for both trash AND recycling.

By: David Lewis David Lewis Mon, 09 Nov 2009 20:52:16 +0000 The money that goes to pay for recycling cannot be spent on roads and bridges. At least not in Ann Arbor.

Most reporting does not do a good job of explaining that government money is in “buckets”. Some buckets have money in them when others do not. Roads and bridges are paid for in large part by money that comes from the state gasoline tax and that is down across Michigan. Witness the Washtenaw county road commissions problems. In Oakland county they are cutting snow removal money in half for next winter.

Big bridge projects are funded by the state or federal governments. The Broadway Bridges or the Huron Parkway Bridge is a good example in A2.

The General Fund “bucket” of almost all governments in Michigan is low and can’t keep up with paying for police and fire. But other buckets are doing OK.

In Ann Arbor recycling is paid for from the Solid Waste Millage. This money cannot by law be spent on things except as they relate to the solid waste budget.

Over the long haul I think recycling pays for itself in Ann Arbor and when the land fill tipping fees finally go up the city will make out well.

By: Fred Posner Fred Posner Mon, 09 Nov 2009 19:30:20 +0000 Personally, I don’t think any money should go to recycling or any other non-essential until the roads and bridges are fixed. Time to really concentrate on essential services. Don’t get me wrong… I recycle. I love recycling. And I will continue to recycle even if I have to hand my recycled goods to non-city run places. But, I need roads and bridges… I want recycling… some argue we need it. I need roads and bridges before recycling.

By: David Lewis David Lewis Mon, 09 Nov 2009 19:05:36 +0000 If you watched the meeting you know they are going to offer different size carts. If you don’t recycle very much, choose a small one. Our elderly neighbors use a small trash cart and like it a lot. Mrs. told me they are looking forward to a small recycling cart to replace the bins that are hard to carry to the curb.

Our full size trash cart takes up no more room than our trash cans did before and we don’t take it out every week so we could have a small one. The new recycling carts will take up no more floor space than two bins do now.

We should all be moving toward a large recycling bin and a small trash cart.

The trash carts are a huge improvement over the old cans and bags. The animals can’t get at it now and trash day is so much neater in the neighborhood. I look forward to having a new recycling cart.

By: Kevin Bolon Kevin Bolon Mon, 09 Nov 2009 04:35:20 +0000 I was skeptical of single stream, but now that it’s passed, I’m committed to helping make it work. The need to get another large cart will probably be people’s biggest concern with the new system, as expressed by Peter and CG above(and a number of other people I’ve heard from.) I have some ideas for how to deal with the cart issue, and am interested to hear what others think:

1)Use the same cart for trash and recycling. This would allow the same trucks to be used for both, but would require trash/recycling pick up on different days of the week. Sounds like a hassle, I know, but if combined with a food scrap composting program (now under consideration), and given the size of the carts, many residents would not need to put out their trash/recycling every week.
2) Keep same-day trash/recycling, and offer residents the choice of getting an new recycling cart, or using their existing trash cart for recycling. The carts would need a changeable sign so that residents could show whether trash or recycling was inside. Either 1 or 2 would save some of the $1.25 million budgeted for carts now.
3)Make sure that the Recyclebank system weighs carts at the truck, instead of averaged over the entire route. If we equip trucks with the recycle bank weighing equipment, and use common trash/recycling trucks, we could even adopt a “pay-as-you-throw” system for trash more easily sometime in the future.

By: Kevin Bolon Kevin Bolon Mon, 09 Nov 2009 03:06:18 +0000 This article accurately summarizes the main points I made in opposition to single-stream recycling during the public comment period. Allow me to fill in a few details about my comments made at the meeting:

I argued that recyclebank could be adopted in the current two-stream system by fitting RFID tags to the existing bins. Councilmember Hohnke reffered to this idea, but it was dismissed by Mr. Frey (because it has not been done before.) Perhaps this is understandable, given that the idea was not raised until the 11th hour, and was possibly not put forward by anyone else before this council meeting. My idea for alternating-week pickup of paper or containers would only have been required if automated cart pickup was used with a two-stream system.

I also said that I thought the expansion to additional plastic types could be accomplished just as easily in a two-stream system. The new automated equipment is not capable of separating #3thru#7 plastics. Both single-stream and two-stream systems use manual sorting here. Some additional capital investment in two-stream may have been required to handle the additional volume, but this should have been considered as an alternative to replacing the whole system with single-stream. A comparison between a modified two-stream system, or a single-stream system could have then been made considering the cost, landfill diversion, and quantity and quality of recycled materials.

By: CG CG Mon, 09 Nov 2009 00:25:28 +0000 So not excited to have another bin to deal with. I can barely manage to maneuver the two we already have, and they take up a huge amount of space in our tiny driveway (we don’t have a garage). I just hope the recycling bins are about the size of the two totes put together, which would make sense, not the size of the trash container, which would not.

By: Pete Pete Sun, 08 Nov 2009 19:11:00 +0000 What a wholly unsatisfactory way of reaching a conclusion. Ann Arbor’s history of ‘ahead of the game-ness’ is cited when comparing us to other cities that recycle more. However, the simple idea that we may just create less waste period than those cities isn’t even considered. Do we create more landfill waste than those cities? If both numbers are less, that is a GOOD thing. Although I challenge the idea that Ann Arbor’s recycling is or has ever been special. My college in the middle of Nowhere, OH (population 2,000) recycled “most” types of plastic and found a market for it.
Furthermore, “recognizing that there are issues” with adding another giant bin without offering solutions, promises to find solutions, or any hope for those of us with already-crowded driveways and garages is a slap in the face to constituents. It says “I know, and I don’t care.” Our family of two fills our trash bin 1/3 full every week, our compost bin totally full 5 weeks a year, and our recycling is never overflowing. I’ll take payment for the lease of the new bin’s driveway space by taping a 25lb weight to the bottom of it and collecting beaucoups rewards.

By: David David Sat, 07 Nov 2009 22:17:46 +0000 Single stream recycling is a great idea. Kudos to the city for adopting it.