Recycling review


Starting a new trash program on January 1 might be necessary, but the unpredictability of the weather always makes it a risky proposition. Such was the case with the launch of Lowell’s new single stream recycling system last week. My normal trash pickup day is Thursday, so with the New Year’s Day holiday on Wednesday, my pickup day was pushed back to Friday, January 3. Since I have a green-lidded recycling bin, that was also my (first) pickup day for that, too.

Unfortunately for all involved, Thursday also brought us a major winter storm. Friday morning, I waited until after I cleared the driveway of snow to wheel my two containers out to the street. There they sat for the day. At 8am on Saturday, the green and white recycling pickup truck worked its way down the street, efficiently emptying the new containers as it drove past. The normal trash pickup truck made it on Saturday too, but not until about 4pm.

Saturday night brought the following email message from the city’s recycling office:

Curbside Collection SERVICE ALERT

The City of Lowell (DPW) working in conjunction with its curbside vendor, Waste Management, are announcing a Service Delay. All [uncollected] Friday (burgundy) trash carts and Fri-Green (lid) recycling carts will be emptied on Mon. Jan. 6th. {Please ensure that carts are back curbside by 7 AM Mon}. Due to this delay ALL {next week} trash/recycling (Blue) [Mon 1/6 thru Fri 1/10] may experience service delays. Residents are asked to place carts curbside by 7 AM on their regular neighborhood collection day. Rest assured that your carts will get emptied {upwards to a ½ day delay} … there is no need to notify the SW&R Office (or WM) about ‘missed’ stops. In advance we apologize for the regretful and unavoidable service interruption. Your continued patience is appreciated. Kindly refer any questions to or the SW&R Hotline at 978-674-4309 or WM Cust Svc at 800-972-4545.

I suppose there will be some grumbling but no reasonable person can consider this a fair test of the new system given the extreme weather conditions. I thought they did a pretty good job picking up the containers as quickly as they did.

As for the single stream recycling bin, I think it’s great. When I wheeled it back into my garage and started tossing stuff into it over the weekend, however, it occurred to me that this container would not be picked up again for another two weeks. It didn’t look so big anymore.

2 Responses to Recycling review

  1. Paul Sweeney says:

    Your final paragraph is my concern as well. Over Christmas with all the wrapping paper and other material my green bin was full long before the 1st scheduled pickup day of Jan 2. I had no place to put almost a week’s worth of recyclables until it was emptied and then it was immediately almost half full. In the past i was able to put out clear trash bags next to my old bin and it would be picked up. Now however I’m not sure if this policy will be continued. Can we put the old small bins next to the 96-gal ones for pickup? Can we put clear bags with recyclables next to the 96-gal ones? Anyone know?

  2. kosta says:

    I’m not saying that the new recycling bins are not an improvement of the old system. However, I’ve been thinking about the many people who have lost some employment (as it were) – those who had collected cans for some meager income.