Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knoxville recycles

Recycling is something I took for granted growing up in Memphis. Single-stream curbside recycling was introduced fairly early in my life, so separating trash and recyclables became second nature for me.

The city of Knoxville has been a little bit slower to the game, but it's getting there. Recycling is an expensive business, and it takes a lot of recyclables for a government-sponsored program to break even on the costs. Drop-off centers, like the ones you may have seen at your local grocery store, tend to be the most affordable options. But it's hard to get motivated to use the drop-offs, even for a recycling freak like myself, when you have to separate and haul it yourself.

Just last week I noticed something new: a recycling bin chained to a light post at the corner of Market and Clinch.

photo by ck.

As it turns out, the city is launching a pilot recycling program downtown. There are 20 bins just like this one all over downtown where you can toss your aluminum cans, bottles, glass containers, plastic cups, mixed paper and other standard recyclables. For a list of locations, check out this press release.

It's going to last for another month and a half, or so, as the city gathers data on how much the bins are being used, if they're being used properly, etc. Basically they want to see if it's worth it to turn this into a full-time thing. If the city does make downtown recycling a permanent thing, the powers that be promise they'll get us some prettier bins.

Please, please, please help this pilot program succeed, friends. We need all the recycling help we can get.

And don't forget, many city residents can participate in the pilot curbside program run by Waste Connections. For a couple bucks a month you get a big recycling bin like the one in the photo above, and the truck will come empty it every other week. For more information on that, check out Waste Connection's recycle website.

The Waste Connections program is also a pilot program, and a successful one at that. The city is working on developing a FREE citywide, single-stream curbside program, though we won't see the first phase of that 'til next year.


B said...

I wonder if I could get a bin for my apartment building. I have little faith the residents there would not put trash in it, but I could at least try. Then I wouldn't have to take mine to Fellini.

ck said...

Dude, I am dumping all my recycling in these brown bins for the next two months! It's about time we had something like this.

P said...

When you get curbside pickup with Waste Connections (that name is horrible), you can sign up for a free program at wherein they weigh your recycling and you get points that you can redeem for grocery store and other coupons. Good coupons, like buy $100 worth in groceries at Earth Fare and get $20 off. In the end, this has made our small family's curbside recycling nearly free.

DesignChick said...

I am so happy that Downtown Knoxville FINALLY got recycling. I have to say- as a member of the design community in Knoxville- I wish they looked nicer! I know the brown bins are easy, available, and cheep- but having them randomly chained to streetlights... We have an amazing design school at UT- any student would have jumped at an opportunity to enter a competition to design a recycling system for our city. Sure it might mean spending a little cash, but wouldn't it be worth it? Stay Classy Knoxville.

The Modern Gal said...

@Design Chick They aren't particularly attractive, but as I mentioned, if this becomes a permanent program the city says it will be investing in some more attractive receptacles. I don't know exactly what they'd look like, but I have to think it will fit in with the rest of the streetscaping.

Unknown said...

Thank you for making me feel like less of a sucker for paying to recycle. I do not think I have seen another curbside recycling bin out on my street on Mondays.

Lady Entropy said...

Found out yesterday they're closing the recycling center at Fellini Kroger to make room for - you guessed it - gas pumps. Way to reverse a beneficial trend, Kroger. Stay classy.