BRIAN SMITH Editor in Chief
The City of Savannah’s residential curbside recycling pickup program that started earlier this month is delayed due to an unexpected level of citizen participation. Despite the plus-side of this delay’s cause – a lot of recycling going on, SCAD students both on and off-campus have mentioned their concerns: Off-campus SCAD sound design alum Robert Timby’s four backyard bins have been overstuffed since before the first scheduled pickup date for his neighborhood, Jan. 8. Dorm-dwelling students are left without black-and-yellow bins, and with minimized recycling options.
Off-campus pickup problems
Timby’s four-apartment house has four black-and-yellow bins in its rear alley. According to Timby, this isn’t enough: “I’ve gone around the neighborhood looking for empty bins to put my extra recyclables in.” He’s also filled a 40-gallon Rubbermaid container with paper, bottles and cans, and left it with his bins with a note asking the City to “please take the contents inside this bin, as well as the city-issued bins.”
These residential concerns have been addressed by the city in a news release stating that the delays are a direct result of an unexpectedly large rate of participation. The release states that during the course of the next few pickup cycles, they will increase the collection staff to ensure adequate and on-time pickup.
The Sanitation Department suggests calling 311 to schedule a personal pickup date, something Timby has avoided. “I just keep hoping every day that the bins will be empty again. I have cardboard and bottles piled up in the kitchen and want it gone.” One week after his scheduled pickup date, he called 311.
“They told me they won’t take recyclables stored in anything but the black-and-yellow bins, which is annoying. They suggested I use my neighbor’s bins. I guess I’m going to have to search for more empty ones,” Timby said. However, they also took a notation of Timby’s address, and said they would be in his area the next day for pick-up.
Five days after his scheduled pick-up date, Timby’s bins are still full.
On-campus drop-off confusion
As the City’s recycling program broadens in terms of activity, it’s also increased its range of accepted recyclables. Now, residential sanitation customers can recycle plastic types 1-7, as opposed to merely types 1 and 2. A question facing students living in dorm complexes (commercial sanitation customers) is which options do they have, and can they too recycle the increased range of recyclable materials.
The residential curbside program currently ships its collected recyclables to the large, single-stream facility in Conyers operated by Pratt Industries.
Bret Bell, Savannah’s public information director, said, “We are working with several large employers to develop a collection system where they separate out the recyclables, and store them in a separate recycling dumpster for our collection, but that is not up and running at this point.” He went on to suggest that students living in dorms utilize the various recycling drop-off sites around town.
The drop-off point nearest the dorms is listed on the Recycle Savannah Web site at 233 W. Boundary St. – near the bridge connecting Turner House and the Dyson/Weston complex. Brian Bessenaire, president of Project Green, mentions that whether this drop-off point is accepting the broadened range of recyclables, or if it’s still operating under the previous recycling constraints, is still in question.
The largest recycling drop-off point listed on the City’s recycling Web site is the Recycling Complex: Education and Drop-Off Center down Gwinnett St. at 14 Interchange Court. One of the complex employees stated that they’re now operating a single-stream drop-off program in correlation with the curbside program. They have one large dumpster dedicated to all recyclables accepted by the black-and-yellow bins, including plastics types 1-7, and are planning to change every bin and dumpster at that center to mixed recycling.
Bessenaire also mentioned that as the curbside and single-stream recycling program is new to Savannah, it’s bound to generate questions and confusion.
If you live off-campus, fill up your bins and call 311 if you’re concerned about your delayed pick-up.
If you live on-campus, for the time being, take your recyclables to the Recycling Complex located at 14 Interchange Court.
The curbside bins and the large complex will accept paper products, aluminum, steel and tin cans, plastic bottles and jugs types 1-7, flattened cardboard and all types of glass bottles and jars with the tops removed.
For more information regarding the city’s recycling program, call 311. For more information regarding Project Green, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Colleen Sanders