Raleigh residents will soon be able to recycle more items with greater efficiency. On June 21, the City Council approved a three-year extension to its five-year contract with Sonoco Recycling Company.
As part of the extension, materials such as phone books, colored paper, yogurt containers, and spiral cans (think Pringles® cans) will now be collected.
This move will give the city an additional $340,000 in revenue for the 2012 fiscal year, according to city staff.
City officials anticipate a 20 to 25 percent increase in recycling during the next few years, thanks both to the added recyclables and the phasing in of bi-weekly automated curbside pickup in the next four years.
City Waste Reduction Specialist Linda Leighton said the addition is overdue.
“We’ve been getting requests from residents for years to broaden the scope of recyclables, specifically non-bottle plastics, like yogurt containers and margarine tubs,” she said. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
Solid Waste Services is expanding recycling in other ways, too, transitioning from bins to larger roll carts.
“After Labor Day, about 33,000 more residents will be moved over to roll carts. The roll carts greatly increase a resident’s recycling capacity,” Leighton said.
The rest of the city will be switched to carts during the next two years.
The Solid Waste Services Department estimates 5,000 tons of additional materials will be recycled next year once the plan goes into effect July 1. The larger capacity carts and an increasing citizen participation in recycling are the main factors in achieving that extra tonnage, Leighton said.
Broadening the range of what items are recycled reduces the amount of waste put in landfills and reduces disposal fees. Raleigh city officials hope to save about $165,000 during the 2012 fiscal year because of the program expansion.
With the new plan, the per-ton revenue will increase from $16 to $30.