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Curbside recycling starts strong

By Melissa Crowe
Feb. 6, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 5, 2012 at 8:06 p.m.

Monday marked the first day that the city began curbside recycling pick-up service. Baker Street in Zone RM1 on the south side, including Silver City, was the first area to get service.

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SOURCE: COURTESY OF WASTE MANAGEMENT

After weeks of anticipation, curbside recycling made its debut Monday in Victoria.

Throughout many neighborhoods, 96-gallon - green-and-yellow carts, soon to be synonymous with sustainability - stood proud next to their gray counterparts near the curb.

Environmental Services Assistant Director Darryl Lesak said the program's first day went off without a hitch.

He estimated that 600 homeowners participated in Monday's 1,900-home route.

"We went out looking through containers, and counted around 600 that were put out," Lesak said. "Out of those 600, we only found two ... with trash in them: Styrofoam, household trash and food waste. Other than those two, it has been real smooth."

Lesak said he was "pleasantly surprised."

"We thought we might have trouble with people putting them (the carts) too close together," Lesak said. "We only put out a handful of tags, everybody else had it right."

The two carts must be placed at least five feet from each other and other obstacles for automated pickup.

Close the lid of the recycling cart completely at time of collection.

Education Specialist Kate Garcia said the rows of green-and-yellow carts were beautiful.

"We drove down every street this morning, and about 30 percent of homes had their carts out," she said.

She said the majority of calls the environmental services department has fielded were questions about how to get rid of the gray garbage carts.

"We've had a bunch of people call and say, 'Hey I'm not going to need this big gray trash can,'" she said. "Eighty percent of what you throw away is recyclable."

Because the new program is "single-stream," residents can mix their recyclables in one bin.

Rinse all containers and flatten cardboard boxes before placing them into the recycling cart.

Accepted collections include phone books, junk mail, newspaper, magazines, wrapping paper, cereal boxes, office paper, paper bags, plastics No. 1-7, steel and aluminum cans, aerosol cans, cardboard and glass bottles and jars.

Unaccepted items include used paper towels and paper plates, Styrofoam, electronics, ceramics, dishes, yard waste, motor oil containers, light bulbs, hazardous waste, window glass, mirrors and trash.

Recycling will be picked up every other week staggered over 10 routes.

The collection and transfer station at 809 George St., opens from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for city residents to bring bulky recycling.

It is the site residential collections are taken before being transported to Waste Management's single-stream processing facility in Houston.

Residential customers will be allowed to drop off recycling at the new transfer station for free, but must show proof of identification and a current water bill or copy of a water bill.

There is also a drop off facility at the Precinct 3 courtesy station at the Victoria Regional Airport.

Lisa Doughty, Waste Management community affairs manager, said in earlier interviews that recycling service is anticipated to begin for commercial customers in late February.

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