While neighborhood listservs have continued to debate the pro's and con's of all the changes to Durham's recycling and solid waste system -- after a dizzying July 13 change that saw recycling go bi-weekly, bulky and yard waste go to second-day return trip pick-up, and all Friday collection moved to Wednesday -- here's one sign that the most important part of the new program is working well:
Recycling as measured by tonnage doubled over the previous week's collection, with "blue zone" residents making twice the level of use of recycling services with their large new curb-side roll carts.
That's a pretty significant win -- especially since any increase in recycling brings with it a net cost reduction possibility for plain ol' solid waste, which unlike bottles, glass and plastics has no residual value and, thus, no discount against its collection, hauling and disposal costs.
In other news, bulky item collection tripled versus the previous week. Though a number of residents have groused about bulky items (and yard waste) having to go out on solid waste/recycling day only to be picked up the following day, meaning more time for the waste to stew on the sidewalk, the new system seems to be easier for folks to understand -- unless of course the change just motivated residents to get rid of those big items they've been kicking around for a while.
(The city's theory: few residents use yard waste or bulky item collection, so Durham saves on collection cost by sending a second vehicle back only to those houses with extra collection to make.)
Still, there are some bugs in the system. One of them: not everyone has received their new yard waste collection stickers. Fret not, pick-up using the old ones has been extended to July 31 to allow all the stickers to make it out in the mail.