ARLINGTON -- Selected Arlington neighborhoods will get 65-gallon rolling recycling carts this month now that the City Council has given informal approval to a two-month pilot project.
The test run in a few neighborhoods is designed to help Republic Waste Services determine whether residential customers are receptive to the switch from 22-gallon open bins to larger wheeled recycling carts with lids.
The carts hold more recyclable material and can be picked up and dumped mechanically, instead of manually, into a collection truck.
The council gave its informal approval during an afternoon work session Tuesday.
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Nearly 3,000 households in the chosen neighborhoods, scattered throughout the city, are expected to be notified of the pilot project Monday, and a cart will be delivered to those homes between Jan. 16 and Jan. 27, according to a city staff report. Residents in those areas can contact the city to decline the cart.
"You can choose whether you want to start recycling or do nothing," Public Works Director Keith Melton said.
The carts are smaller than originally proposed last fall. Republic Waste put a planned citywide rollout of a 95-gallon recycling cart program on hold after residents complained about the size of the carts and the corresponding increased fees whether they recycle or not.
Last October, water-utility bills increased 25 cents to help cover rising operating expenses for Republic, which collects Arlington's garbage and recycling. But the city did not implement a proposed 84-cent monthly fee increase for recycling since the project was put on hold.
Households participating in the pilot project, which is set to end March 31, will not pay additional fees, Melton said.
Some residents have told council members they support switching to the carts. But other residents, such as Carol Huckaby Daley, still worry about where they will store the larger carts and oppose paying additional fees that would come with a citywide rollout. Daley said her family uses two bins now, but is concerned about hauling a larger cart up and down her home's steep driveway.
"I don't like being charged to have the cart. They are big and they are cumbersome and they do take up a lot of space," said Daley, whose parents use the recycling carts in Fort Worth. "The idea of another tax is not something we appreciate."
Selected households will receive a letter explaining the pilot project as well as what materials are acceptable for recycling, Melton said. Republic Waste has been monitoring the use of recycling bins in the pilot project areas to compare recycling rates once the carts are distributed, according to a city staff report. Participants will also be asked to complete a survey at the end of the project.
The carts are part of Republic's proposed $10.8 million investment in an automated collection system that would include the construction of a compressed natural gas fueling station and an upgrade to new collection trucks that run on the cleaner-burning fuel.
Susan Schrock, 817-709-7578