Curbside recycling services are becoming more and more common in communities across the United States. There are lots of reasons for this. For one thing, having your recycling picked up at your home is more convenient, and most Americans will recycle more if there is a curbside pickup service available in their area. Also, programs like these can create jobs, keep recyclable material out of landfills, and help communities become a little greener.
Check with your local trash pickup company or homeowner’s or neighborhood association to see if curbside recycling services are available for your home. If not, consider starting up your own program! Here’s what you should know about your average curbside recycling services:
What can be recycled?
The recyclables that a curbside recycling service will pick up vary from one program to the next. However, most programs will pick up basic items that include aluminum and steel, plastic, paper, and glass. You should definitely check with your program to see exactly what can be put into your recycling bin, as you’ll make the program more efficient and eco-friendly by putting only the acceptable recyclables on your curbside.
Some curbside recycling programs will also have special days where they’ll pick up more complicated recyclables, such as appliances or electronics. See if your program has a website so you can be aware of this information ahead of time! Also, many communities will have a separate program to pick up yard waste in the summer and fall so that it can be composted instead of burned.
Types of programs
There are three main types of recycling programs when it comes to curbside pickup…
- The dual-stream program is most common. This is where you’re given two containers – one for papers and the other for everything else – and both bins are picked up at the same time. Dual-stream programs may reduce contamination of recyclables.
- Single-stream programs are where households are just given one large recycling bin. In this case, they don’t have to sort recyclables at all. This type of program may save more gas because only one truck is needed to pick up all the recyclables, but it might also result in contamination of recyclables so that some things have to be thrown away instead. However, it seems that people are more likely to recycle if they don’t have to sort their recyclables, which is making these programs become more popular.
- Pay-as-you-throw programs are the final option. They’re really interesting programs where households have to actually pay per trash bag full that they throw away at a curbside pickup program. Usually with these programs, you can add recyclables to your curbside pickup for no cost or for a lower cost than throwing away trash. According to the EPA, these programs can help cities reduce overall waste by 25% to 35%! When it comes to money, people are likely to watch what they’re spending, so these programs make the consumer more conscious of what is being through away and help families be aware of keeping recyclables out of their trash bins.
What if you don’t have a curbside recycling program?
Curbside recycling programs are becoming more common, but if you live in an apartment building or a rural area, you may be out of luck. However, you can still recycle. Just buy your own recycling bins, and make it a habit to drop off your recycling at a location near you once a week or so. If you’re in or near San Diego, check out Recycle San Diego for household recycling options. If not, look on Earth911.com to find out information about recycling drop off points near your home.