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Encourage more recycling



If residents were charged a fee for garbage and recycling was free, perhaps there would be more recycling.  Alternatively, only one garbage can per house or apartment and if extra was needed (i.e., moving), one would need a permit from the City.  Each trash day, I see so many houses with 3 or 4 garbage cans on the curb and no recycling.  

What actions do you propose?

This proposal would need to start with education, in multiple languages, for all residents as to what was recyclable and what was not.  When the new single stream bins were dropped off, very little information was given with them.  The first week, many residents were putting their garbage in them.  If the neighborhood was canvassed to see if residents understood about recycling, it would be easier to have education forums or even just multi-language handouts custom made to the most misunderstood component of recycling.  This could be done by teens looking for summer work.  

Who will take these actions?

Once the need for specific educational opportunities about recycling was determined, the City could have forums at local schools about the new policy, as well as print multi-language information cards for all residents. 

What are the key challenges?

I think that it would contribute a huge amount, though I do not have an estimate.  However, whatever percentage of positives, it could only get better.  I think it is similar to fines that were given out to residents who left open trash containers contributing to the rat situation.  Identifying the culprits is the first task - educating them is the 2nd.  

What are the key benefits?

Smaller landfills, smarter residents.  The residents could use this same information if they move to another municipality.  

What are the proposal’s costs?

The costs would consist of paying people to canvass the neighborhood, but would be a potential opportunity for summer interns and teens off from school.  The 2nd cost would be for educational handouts for all city residents.  Educational forums could be held at local schools, and there would be additional cost for staffing the school after hours.  

Time line

I see the timeline starting in less than 5 years, and by end of 10 years, we should have an efficient recycling program.  In 20 years, our carbon footprint would be far less because of the lessened need of landfills.  

Related proposals

Value not set.


As this is a simple program, I do not have any policy studies.  However, various versions of this proposal are being rolled out across the country.  Milwaukee is starting a program to charge residents for more than one garbage container, but no limit on recycling bins

A similar program is in effect in Golden, CO

The City of Fort Worth, Texas has policy of one garbage can per household with unlimited recycling and should you require additional trash receptacles, residents must buy "paid trash" bags from the City.