Local News

Fewer collections leave some Durham recycling bins overflowing

Posted December 2, 2009 11:49 p.m. EST
Updated December 3, 2009 12:47 a.m. EST

— Some Durham residents complain that their recycling bins cannot handle the load since the city shifted to collecting the materials every two weeks instead of weekly.

"We've got to pile it up on top of everything just to make it fit," said Dominique Liles, who said his family hosted about a dozen people for Thanksgiving, leading to plenty of empty cans.

"The recycling bin was very full. It was close to the top," Liles said.

Durham stopped picking up recyclables every week over the summer, saying the city could save money by cutting its collections in half.

Crews handed out 95-gallon bins to handle the extra materials, and Donald Long, the director of the city's Solid Waste Management Department, said most families still don't fill them up. The old bins could handle only 18 gallons of materials.

"There have been some trends that show that people recycle more with the larger carts," Long said.

Durham is collecting about 14 percent more recyclable material since it rolled out the larger bins, he said.

To accommodate people who find that their bins are overflowing with materials by the end of two weeks, the city has started renting out extra containers for $18 a year. A 65-gallon bin is available to those who don't want the big container.

"We encourage those folks to call us to get that extra cart because we want our tonnage to go up as high as it can go," Long said.

Residents can call 919-560-1200 to request the extra bins.

The city didn't offer extra carts when it first started the program because it was having problems delivering the more than 67,000 carts to area residents to get the program going.

"When we were sure that everybody had one cart, then we started delivering extra carts to people who needed them," Long said.

Liles said his family might consider paying extra to get a second recycling bin.

"It would be worth it," he said.