Editor’s note: Those new big, blue recycling bins brought out a torrent of reader response. Here is a sampling from our letters, online story comments and posts to editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page.
‘Big, ugly things’
Orange County is well commended for sustained and purposeful commitment to recycling and environmental responsibility.
Still, commitment should not blind thinking about other outcomes, unfortunately seen with the new recycling carts imposed on us: so very and probably unnecessarily large, so rudely bright and blue, so pervasively intrusive on streets and property.
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We are owed visual as well as recycling responsibility. What thinking led to 19,500 big ugly things intruding on our visual and daily environment? A call to Mr. Gayle Wilson, County Solid Waste Director, and his staff yielded thorough and courteous responses about process, decisions, and costs. Answers, though, were unsatisfying about color: “at least we didn’t choose orange”; “blue is the cart maker’s most popular color,” which subjects us to distant merchandising rather than local judgment; and “we thought people couldn’t adapt to a new color after blue bins,” insulting to citizen intelligence.
The darn things loom too-large and too-ugly along houses, streets, and small businesses. Too few houses have garage or shed space for hiding. Unlike bins, they fit functionally nowhere in or out. Joining the large garbage cart, they yield no easy logistical solution. When asked why informational notices lacked requirements or ideas for seemly hiding, a staff member admitted we didn’t think of that.
An advocate for environment responsibility and recently head of a renewable energy agency, I find that the bins have for the first time ever made me annoyed with the good imperative for recycling. Resentful that bureaucratic zeal and commissioner approval mandated these things in my environment, I will seek a paint to cover dark green or black. Perhaps others will do the same.
As plastic endures longer than any program, administrator, or commissioner, we are presumably stuck with them until the end of time. This makes more annoying the county commissioners’ commitment for them of $812,400 in the face of an expected tax-rate increase.
W. Steven Burke
Lots to love
We love our new bin.
We buy pretty much everything online. Up til now, we couldn’t fit the cardboard into the old bins. Plus, if it rained, the cardboard was ruined.
I also find it much easier to roll the bin to the curb; rather than having to pick up two separate bins and carry them to the curb.
The old bins also got my clothes dirty; the new bin allows me to stay clean as I roll it to the curb.
Take it back
I called the day the bin arrived to take it back.
Not only is it humongous – exactly how many people must live in a household that has this much crap to recycle? And there isn’t much stuff uglier than plastic, but a vibrant blue plastic. Our neighborhoods will be blighted by the stand out color and size. What were they thinking?
Mine is going back as soon as they take down my home address! The stand-out comment on the post card about the new cart coming is that they are microchipped – talk about the NSA! So I can’t leave the monster in far away location if they don’t pick it up.
Dorothy Cookie Teer
Better for backs
Too big, but the bins can be picked up by a machine so that workers aren’t breaking their backs in 90-plus degree heat.
Need smaller option
“One size fits all” was one of the concerns raised during last year’s public hearings about the 95 gallon rolling carts. A look at other towns and cities shows that they offer different sizes. For example, Raleigh’s new program explains:
“We understand single residents or smaller families may not need the capacity of the 95 gallon cart (or maybe you’re just not a big consumer, great!). You may call and request to switch to a 65 gallon recycling cart.”
Bunch of whiners
Wah, life is sooooo hard. Good grief. What a bunch of whiners. 95 gallon bins have been used in Charlotte for years. A blue container on the street every other week is less of a “blight” than burying recyclables in a landfill.
Overall, thumbs up, though I am not crazy about the color. I don’t want my storage bin in my garage, and this way I can store all of the paper in the cart outside without anything getting wet.
I also hope they start picking up the recycling every two weeks (like they do in Durham) as a result. More efficient.
Less work, more filling
I like them, but the whole point is to wait until they are at least half or three quarters full before rolling them out to the street. Less work for you, less work for the workers, saves money overall for the town.
I saw my neighbors with their containers out two weeks in a row, and I know they aren’t generating that many recyclables.
Better to roll
I like them. They can keep animals from rummaging through, looking for food. And it’s better to roll to the curb than to have to carry bins that can get dirt all over your clothes.
Vicki Vars Boyer
Long time coming
Roll carts have been a long time coming, and for town residents it’s a great improvement over the bins. I wish families were given a choice of a small or large cart. I don't like the color.
It will be interesting to see how hard the carts will be to handle on long or steep driveways when they are full. They are impractical for many parts of the unincorporated areas – where people need to haul their recyclables to the end of a private road or long driveway. So this is a good preview.
Much, much easier
Ours was almost full after 2 weeks, and I found it very easy to roll down our long drive, much much easier than if I had had to carry an equal weight in the bins. Thanks Orange County commissioners!
Can’t wait to get one
I cannot wait to get one. I am sure the amount of recycling I do will increase tremendously when I don't have to worry about putting out cans and newspapers, etc.
Margaret Wood Cannell
Big for a reason
People need to keep in mind that they are big in order to handle bulky material like cardboard and maybe, eventually, styrofoam. You don’t have to fill them up, but the more you can divert from trash to recycling the better off we'll all be.
Will recycle more
You find that you actually recycle more with them because you aren’t going to overflow the little ones. No question these are better.