Big blue bin boosts recycling 87%


City of Asheville residents stepped up their recycling game in a big way following the introduction of “Big Blue,” the 96-gallon carts rolled out in April, with a whopping 87 percent increase in recyclables collected over April 2011.

April was the first full month of implementation of the Zero Waste AVL Recycling Program, with 28,000 homes utilizing the carts. Curbside Management, the company contracted by the City of Asheville to collect recyclables, reported that it took in nearly double the material in April 2012 as compared to April 2011.

“These are phenomenal numbers for our first month, and we feel it’s just the beginning,” said David Foster, assistant director of public works. “We expect our customers will get better at recycling as the program continues and that our tip fees will see an even bigger reduction over time.”

Overall, the City of Asheville saw a reduction of more than 112 tons of trash headed for the landfill in April 2012, which means the city spent approximately $4,826 less in trash disposal fees than it did in for the same month in 2011.

Asheville City Council approved the Zero Waste AVL in August 2011, and the City of Asheville began delivering the big blue carts in March. Before that, a sample of city residents participated in a test run of the program. The carts require no sorting or bagging. At the same time, Curbside management began accepting even more kinds of recyclable materials. Both steps make it easier than ever to recycle in Asheville.

“It’s great to see Asheville respond so positively to the recycling program,” said Maggie Ullman, energy coordinator for the city’s Office of Sustainability. “We see it as a success story, from both the standpoint of fiscal responsibility and sustainability.”

Find more information about recycling in Asheville here.