Officials Aiming to Expand Recycling Options

Arlington Sun Gazette

County officials say they plan to use next spring’s contract renegotiation period in an effort to increase recycling options for county homeowners.

County Manager Ron Carlee on July 19 told County Board members there was a “high probability” that recycling options would expand next year.

County officials recently expanded the types of plastic material accepted at Arlington’s two drop-off recycling centers. Among the items now being accepted at the centers: yogurt cups, deli containers, clamshell containers, margarine tubs and flower pots.

The expansion, which does not yet apply to households, won praise from former Green Party County Board candidate Josh Ruebner.

Ruebner called the upgrade “an important way to see a reduction in Arlington’s carbon footprint,” but added that the county government needed to create a more comprehensive recycling policy for county schools, parks and multi-family communities.

The county government has a monopoly on trash collection in single-family communities, while private firms contract for collection services to apartments, condominiums and office buildings. Private haulers may have different recyclable-collection policies.

Recyclables collected by the county government are sorted at a material-recovery facility in Burke, while private haulers use a variety of centers to sort recycled material.

County officials estimate that, despite public-education campaigns, Arlington households throw out more than half of the paper and cardboard that could be recycled, and toss out more than one-third of recyclable bottles and cans.

As part of the contract negotiations, county officials say residents may receive new recycle bins next year. Their ultimate goal: to have bigger bins for recyclables than for general trash.

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