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Columbus introduces new carts to neighborhoods, advances recycling program


New, blue recycling carts can now be found in some neighborhoods and subdivisions in Columbus, but not all households have had the chance to receive these 95 gallon recycling carts just yet.

Pat Biegler with Public Works in Columbus said recycling is still a foreign idea to many people in America, and Columbus is no exception.

"Recycling is the thing to do, and we see many other countries participate, but we still have hard time recycling all the time," Biegler said. "Recycling takes investment, infrastructure and staff, and I don't think many cities understand the trade off."

The city's recycling rate in the past has only been four percent. Biegler said this was also due to the city's limited capability, and not being able to provide more support to help others recycle in the past.

"Now that we have the new plant, and have more opportunity," Bigler said. "We'd really like to see those numbers rise to 40 to 50 percent."

Columbus had a recycling program for years, but due to the limited capability, the city had trouble promoting the program.

"We added eight new trucks that have just arrived," Biegler explained. "We will be able to pick up and process significantly more materials. This is the time to start."

While all households in Columbus can order as many recycling bins as they want for free, recycling carts are a different story. These carts were presented to neighborhoods that already recycled the most in the past.

"I'd love to give every household a cart," Biegler said. "The cart has a lid, wheels and handles. It's so easy to use. Our plan is to provide everyone with these carts in the near future. It was hard for us to do now, since buying these carts for everyone would cost over $3 million. We don't have that in our budget right now."

About 15,000 carts have been distributed so far. Thanks to the new plant, people can simply throw in all of their recyclable materials into the carts or bins without separating or organizing the materials.

"However, it's important that people get a separate recycle bin for glass," Biegler said. "Our new plant and machinery can sort and separate materials. However, glasses should be separated for safety reasons."

The plant opened in December, and the city actually started processing materials in November.

The city is also working to bring recycling containers and system for many apartment complexes in our area.

"We just started, but there are lot of issues we need to work with," Biegler said. "City garbage trucks won't be able to enter apartment complexes easily since there are liability issues. Also, many apartments do not have enough spaces for us to place recycling containers. But our plant and plan are still new. We still have some things we need to fix, but we are on a good start."

If you are interested in receiving more recycling bins, or wish to be on the waiting list to get one of the recycling carts, call 311.

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