City of Grand Rapids rolls out its new Single Stream Recycling program this month

Sharon Hanks

Grand Rapids residents can soon say goodbye to the city's blue recycling bins. Trash collectors will begin this month exchanging them with recycling carts on wheels as the city rolls out its much anticipated new Single Stream Recycling program.

Residents who recycle will be able to simply dump everything into the new cart instead of sorting the materials. The current program requires residents to place paper and cardboard in one blue plastic bin and place glass, metal and plastic in a second bin. City of Grand Rapids residents can obtain the service at no cost if they have access to public streets.

Barbara Small, administrative services officer with the city Streets and Sanitation Department, says the city is on target to launch the program late this week. "It's going well," she says. For the first time, businesses will be allowed to participate in the recycling program as well, she says. To apply, go here.

The Single Stream Recycling program will cost less to operate and be easier for city workers and residents to manage, Small says. Instead of manually lifting heavy 18-gallon bins to empty recyclables into a truck, workers will be able to quickly lift and empty the carts with semi-automated tippers, saving them time and reducing their potential for injuries.

Small says a letter was sent to recycling city residents last month, asking them to select the cart size that best fits their needs: 35 gallon, 64 gallon or 96 gallon. Each blue cart is  made with 40 percent recycled plastic, and has a bright yellow lid. If residents didn't return an enclosed card by July 6, they will receive a 64-gallon cart, she says. The city expects to distribute 39,000 bins within the next four to six weeks for its initial deployment.

About 60 percent of the city's residents participate in the city's recycling program now. Those not recycling or residents living in apartment complexes or condos can go here to either apply online or learn what they need to do to participate in the Single Stream Recycling program.

There is no need for residents to place their name on the carts because they each will be marked with serial numbers and radio frequency identification tags to identify their addresses.

Recycled materials will be taken to Kent County's new $12.5 million Recycling and Education Center that just opened on property where Applied Arts stamping plant once stood at 977 Wealthy St. SW.

Source: Barbara Small, City of Grand Rapids administrative services officer in the Streets and Sanitation Department; City of Grand Rapids website

Sharon Hanks is innovations and jobs news editor at Rapid Growth Media. Please send story ideas and comments for the column to Sharon at [email protected]. She also is owner of The Write Words in Grand Rapids.

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