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Carlisle considers second option residents could use for recycling containers
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Carlisle

Carlisle considers second option residents could use for recycling containers

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Garbage Bags

Garbage bags wait to be picked up along North Hanover Street in Carlisle Monday evening.

A second option for recycling under Carlisle’s new trash contract may be in the works.

Public works director Mark Malarich said the contract with Waste Connections requires that wheeled recycling totes be delivered to every participant in the solid waste program by April 1.

The borough has, however, heard comments from residents who have no access to the front street except through the front door of their homes. These residents wanted to know if they could continue to use the old containers, Malarich said.

In response, the borough is considering the use of bins that are the same size as the ones currently in use, but that have a lid that closes to keep items in on windy days and dry on rainy days as the totes would.

Malarich told the borough council at its Wednesday workshop meeting last week that the smaller bins were tested by leaving them out in subfreezing weather and then tossing it about the parking lot. It held up to the test.

The smaller bins would cost $25-$32, which would be absorbed by the borough.

Which container?

The challenge for the borough is figuring out how to get residents the type of container they want.

“We’re still trying to flesh out what the right way is to do the exchange from the old recycling bins to the new ones,” said Borough Manager Susan Armstrong. “We want to try to make it as easy as possible on our residents.”

One approach would have Waste Connections continue as planned with the delivery of the larger totes, but to have a paper taped inside of each one that explains the option for the smaller one. The borough would then collect the larger totes and exchange them for the smaller ones upon request.

The borough council’s discussion of the recycling containers came in the sixth week of the new contract and the fourth week since the changeover from green bags to orange bags for trash collection.

Borough employee Lucretia Hefflefinger said that in the first week of the changeover, the staff counted 325 green bags left out. The following week, the staff reviewed Monday routes on Wednesday and so on through that week to see how many green bags remained.

When they finished going through all the sections of town, there were still 91 green bags sitting curbside so the staff put door hangers on those residences to remind them of the change.

The review process repeated the following week with staff finding 42 bags still on the curb. Letters were sent to those homes, Hefflefinger said.

Citations

As of the meeting last week, six citations were issued to residents who had yet to replace the green bag with an orange one. Hefflefinger said citations were issued in cases where the green bag was documented as having been out on the curb for four weeks.

Borough staff said there was no pattern as to where they found green bags or any one area in which it was more common.

Hefflefinger also told the council about some of the issues they have seen with the new bags. One issue comes from the fact that the honeycomb structure of the bags allows for expansion so people are putting more trash in them, causing them to exceed the 40-pound weight limit.

Waste Connections has a handheld scale to use on bags of questionable weight. One bag they found logged in at almost 50 pounds. Another bag that a resident had labeled as being 38 pounds weighed more than 60 pounds, according to the handheld scale.

Borough staff also discovered one person who had ordered orange trash bags online and attempted to pass it off as a borough bag.

Notes expressing dissatisfaction with the bags have also been written right on the bag using Sharpies.

Overall, though, borough staff said the transition has been going well.

Email Tammie at tgitt@cumberlink.com. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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