Is it a blue week, or a green?
Remember asking yourself that question more than five years ago, when the city initiated automated recyclable collections? Or maybe, like many of us, you’re still asking that question when it comes to trash collection day.
Finding the answer is often as easy as looking at the calendar distributed by the city, or glancing out the window to see what the neighbors are doing.
As of next week, it won’t make any difference what color recycling cart is out at curbside. If it’s blue or green, city trucks will empty it. No longer does paper and cardboard go in one cart and bottles, cans and plastic into another. It can be mixed. But you better put a recycling cart out if you want any of your trash hauled away.
The city has adopted the “No bin, no pickup” policy Cranston implemented in 2009 in an effort to increase recycling and develop a predictable stream of collections.
Does it make sense that residents are being told to place partially filled carts – even empty carts – out for collection just to ensure their trash is picked up? Cranston residents have asked themselves that question and the results speak for themselves: Recycling rates increased in Cranston after the policy took effect. Cranston’s rate of recycling is 22.2 percent – good but still less than Warwick’s 26.2 percent.
This city administration believes the Warwick rate can be better, especially now that Rhode Island Resource Recovery, in addition to accepting mixed recyclables, has expanded it to many forms of plastic that formerly went into the landfill. So, if this plan works, those recycling carts will be sure to always have something in them.
The second reason is just as good; to level off recyclable collections and to establish a steady flow for more efficient handling. This translates into savings when collection trucks don’t have to make two runs to Johnston in one day, especially with the second truck being practically empty.
Ideally, the day will come when we’re only putting recyclable carts at curbside while everything else ends up in the garden as compost. Until then, you can forget whether it’s a green or blue week, but don’t forget to recycle.