Friday, September 16, 2011

Zero-Sort Recycling: Questions and Answers

Zero-Sort Recycling will go citywide on October 17th. Here are answers to some questions you may have about the program. If you have more questions, feel free to ask away in the comments.

Q: What is Zero-Sort recycling?
A. Zero-Sort is what is known as single-stream recycling, which means all recyclables including paper, cardboard, plastics, glass metal and other recyclable containers are discarded together in one bin. Just as with our current program, only recycling goes in the bin (no trash). But now instead of separating paper and cardboard from other recyclables, you put everything in one place.

Q: Why is Somerville changing to Zero-Sort recycling?
A. Using just one collection bin for all your recyclable items increases the ease and convenience of recycling. In Somerville, we tested the program in part of Ward 5 and recycling increased by an average of more than 60 percent. That's a lot of resources being saved.

Q: When will I receive the new recycling cart?
A: We will begin delivering the new carts the week of October 10 and finish by October 28th. If you have not received a cart prior the program start, please continue to use you blue bin.

Q: When will Zero-Sort recycling pickup start?
A: We will begin picking up mixed recyclables on Oct. 17. If you do not have your cart before that time, please continue using your old bins.

Q: How will I know what I can recycle?
A: Informational materials will be delivered with your new cart. Basically you can recycle everything we've already been recycling as well as pizza boxes (if you scrape off the cheese). Our recycling page on the City website will be updated once the program starts. For the current list, CLICK HERE. And, when in doubt, you can always call 311 to ask.

Q: How many carts will multi-family buildings receive?
A: Single-family homes will recieve one cart, two-family homes will receive two carts. Residents of three-family homes will share two carts. Residents in four-, five-, or six-unit homes will share three carts.

Q: Who gets to participate in the program?
A: The City provides recycling service to residents in buildings of six units or less. Residents of larger buildings and businesses can receive recycling pickup from the City by purchasing a recycling cart from the Department of Public Works at One Franey Road. The carts cost $50.

Q. What do I do with my old recycling bin?
A. You can use the old bin to keep recycled materials in your house and then carry them to the new cart. Or you may keep the bin for other uses. If you no longer want your old bin, place it in or on your new cart on your recycling day and it will be picked up and recycled.

Q. What happens if the cart is damaged?
A. Please call 311 to report the issue. Someone from the City will visit your house on your next recycling day to inspect the cart and repair it if possible. If it can’t be fixed, you will receive a replacement cart at no cost to you.

Q. What happens if I lose the recycling cart?
A. Call 311 to report that it is missing. Each cart has a unique serial number, which allows us to track and identify individual carts. We will try to track it down and return it. If not, we will drop a new one off on the curb in front of your house at no cost to you.

Q: How are the materials separated at the recycling facility?
A. Somerville brings its recyclables to the state-of-the-art Casella recycling facility in Charlestown. This facility sorts and processes all of the materials using high-tech machinery (each type of plastic, for example, is detected by laser and removed from the overall mix with a jet of air).

Q: What happens to recycled materials?
A: The materials are sold on the commodities market and Somerville benefits from these sales.

Photo: Arlington County, VA, via Flickr.

47 comments:

  1. Is there a charge for the replacement cart if you have to get one?

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  2. ya, i'm sure it will work out great, they missed my yard waste this week and last time.

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  3. The carts come with a 10-year warranty, so if they break under normal wear-and-tear, it will be replaced at no fee to the City or resident.

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  4. Anonymous, in Sept. and Oct., yard waste is picked up only every other week. There was no yard waste pickup last week, but it should have been picked up this week. Could you please report the missed yard waste pickup to 311 (just call 311) so we can work to make sure this doesn't happen again. We need to know when this happens so that we can identify the cause and fix it.

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  5. Just a p.s.: The yard waste pickup calendar can be found on the City website at http://www.somervillema.gov/sites/default/files/YardwasteCalendar2011.PNG.

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  6. With respect to the new recycling program, It is my understanding a 65 Gal container is to be utilized. Is there a smaller container available?
    At my house we compost and recycle & will never need a container that large. Also, I have limited space to store a container that large. A 65 gal container will not fit in my garage & It is too difficult to lift it a vertical rise if 10' to my house.
    Please advise.

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  7. The program sounds great, but scavengers regularly go through our blue recycling bins looking for bottles with a deposit and newspaper coupons. They sometimes dump the bins on the sidewalk to make looking for these items easier. I can't imagine how they'll find what they're looking for in a 65-gallon bin without dumping it out. How will these scavengers be addressed?

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  8. Lawrence, You are correct that you will be receiving a 65-gallon recycling cart, which is a mid-size container (Medford, for example, has 96-gallon recycling containers). So it might not seem as large to you once you have it as it sounds. We're asking residents to give the carts a try for one month (you may find that now that you can put your paper and cardboard in with your other recyclables that this is a good fit). If, however, after a month you find that it is simply not practical for you, please call 311 and the City will work with you to find another solution. For a number of reasons, it's better all-around if the majority of households use the 65-gallon carts though, so we're hoping this will work out for most households.

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  9. If your recycling is dumped out and left on the street by a person scavenging for deposit bottles or cans, please report the incident to 311 (by dialing 3-1-1). This is littering and we will enforce the no-littering code.

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  10. Anonymous, Just a followup regarding replacement costs. If you cart is lost or stolen, we will make every attempt first to locate it (each cart has a chip with a serial number that it can be identified with). If it cannot be found, the City will replace it for you at no cost to you.

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  11. We have had a large recycling toter for about a year now that has worked out great. We paid Somerville about $65 for the toter. Will this toter still be able to be used for recycling?

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  12. Kat, This is a great question for our Director of Sustainability, David Lutes. Please contact him at 617-625-6600 ext. 2106 or dlutes@somervillema.gov and let him know the type of cart you have and he can make sure you have a cart that will work with the mechanical arms on the Zero-Sort trucks.

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  13. Hello! We were part of the pilot, and it's GREAT!! Can you please tell me where to find the (Brazillian) Portuguese translation of the guidelines? Our tenants haven't quite grasped it, and I wanted to print it out for them to explain. THanks!!

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  14. Heads up: Like Mr. Willwerth, my house and yard are too small to store that form of container, which is far larger than I need, and my tenant will have the same problem. Unfortunately, I will have to drop out of the recycling program.

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  15. Will Recycling still be every week?

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  16. My building of 20 apartments has private trash pick-up. Does city recycling still apply?

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  17. Regarding space concerns for new recycling carts from Lawrence (Sep 16 @ 7:18 PM) and Kate (Sep 23 @ 2:06 PM)... If you keep using your small blue recycle bins then speak with a neighbor about depositing your recyclable materials in your neighbor's 65-gallon recycling cart. This would be easy if they've already brought the cart to the curbside the night before pickup.

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  18. what about shredded paper? how should that be recycled with the new containers?

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  19. AWESOME!!! I'm so happy the city has decided to roll this out. Sorting is not that big a deal, but putting the paper recycling in a paper bag is a pain and the bag breaks if it rains. Plus my tenants are always getting confused about sorting and I have to go through their bins to sort it which is not too fun. This makes it so much simpler for everyone (except the processing facility of course!).

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  20. Kate, The footprint of the new cart is actually smaller than the current blue bin and once you begin throwing in your paper and cardboard, rather than storing it separately elsewhere, you may find it actually saves you space. If, however, after a month you find that it is simply not practical for you to use the new cart, you may call 311 and the City will find a way for you to participate in the program that is more convenient for you. Most likely this will be that you continue to use your old blue bin. So please don't feel that you will have to stop recycling. We will find a way to make the program work for you.

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  21. Anonymous, Yes, recycling pickup will still be every week on your regular trash day.

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  22. This is great news. We now need to enforce a kitchen-waste / compost pick up before it's too late! They're doing it in Cambridge already. And EVERYWHERE on the West Coast. We are way behind! Let's move Somerville!

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  23. When is Somerville going to start putting a recycling bin next to every trash bin so that recycling is also being done on the streets, the T, parks etc.?

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  24. I have a two-family house, and over the last 4 years, between the two units, we've have very little waste (1 trash can and 1-2 recycle bins per week). I suspect we will only need one of the 2 carts. If that is the case, can the city pick up the extra cart? I really don't want or need to store two carts.

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  25. I just want to say a huge kudos on this. I live in the pilot area, and while it didn't catch on with everyone in our building, for the most part it's been much easier and so helpful. We keep our small bin in the house and then dump it into the large bin (which we store in the basement) on recycling day. I'm also glad the city has reduced the number of bins per buildng -- we live in a triple decker of 6 1-bedrooms and six bins is way too many for us! In fact if there's a way to donate a couple back, we'd be happy to do that. We don't use two of ours at all. And, if there's a link to translated flyers (especially portuguese and spanish) I'd love to post those for the other-language renters in our building who haven't participated yet.

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  26. Anonymous, Thank your for your suggestion that we start municipal composting of kitchen waste. This is an option the City is well aware of and has been looking into. We'll keep you updated, and also pass along your request to the Office of Sustainability and Environment.

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  27. Anonymous, Regarding recycling in city parks and public places. The City does have a few pilot recycling receptacles in public places and we have ten "Big Belly" recycling bins located in City parks. The hope is to expand this over time as costs allow. (I'm waiting on a full list of where the current bins are located and will post once I have it.)

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  28. Meg, We are asking that residents give the new carts a try for at least 1 month. You may find that now that your paper, cardboard, pizza boxes, and large rigid plastics (like old toys or broken plastic garden chairs) can now be put in the same bin that you may need the additional cart. But if after one month you find that you do not, please call 311 and we will retrieve the cart.

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  29. Amanda, Glad you are happy with the program. If you would like to give back your excess carts, please call 311. For a link to materials in Spanish and Portuguese, please go to the city website www.somervillema.gov, click on Zero-Sort Infomation and you'll find links to translated materials on the right. Or go here: http://www.somervillema.gov/alerts/zero-sort-recycling-information. We have posted FAQs and a slide presentation on Zero-Sort in both languages. If you would like either mailed to you, please call 311 to request them.

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  30. I think it is rediculous that people who live in larger buildings have to pay to get a recycling bin. I certainly cannot. I doubt my landlord will care to do so, so that now there will be 20 apartments of people that no longer recycle. Congrats on making at least one building ecologically negative.

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  31. Can we now recycle styrofoam? If so, are there any restricted styrofoam items? Thank you.

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  32. Anonymous, Unfortunately, we do not currently accept Styrofoam for recycling. Styrofoam tends to break down and crumble and it becomes difficult to retrieve it for recycling when mixed with other materials. The City is, however, looking into other options for collecting Styrofoam separately. We'll keep you updated.

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  33. Our 12-unit condo building currently has two of the large dark grey recycling carts (the kind that hook onto the trucks and have serial numbers), that we had to purchase from the city a few years ago. Can we continue to use these under the new Zero-sort program or will we have to again purchase new carts?

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  34. Sara, If the carts were purchased from the City you may continue to use them.

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  35. Anonymous, Shredded paper will still be accepted. As before, please place it in a clear plastic bag and then place it in your new Zero-Sort cart on top of your other recyclables. Please do not toss the shredded paper loose into the cart. Staff at the recycling plant will remove the bags of shredded paper by hand before the other materials are sorted by machines. PLEASE NOTE: An earlier response stated that the paper should now go in paper bags. This is not the case. Please use a clear plastic bag.

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  36. We're in Ward 6 just northeast of Davis Square, and while neighbors around us received their new recycling carts last weekend, our 4-unit building still has not. Should I contact the city and let them know they missed us, or are there still spots in Ward 6 farther down on the delivery schedule?

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  37. Foskett St., Yes, please call 311 to enquire about this.

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  38. There is an abandoned ("unfit for occupancy") house on our street which appears to have received 3 zero-sort bins. I put them out of the way so that the recyclers wouldn't have to check them each week, but it seems a shame to have them go unused. Could the city take them back and keep them in reserve as replacements?

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  39. Can the lids to plastic bottles or glass jars be recycled? What about cardboard juice/milk containers? Thank you!

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  40. Tim, Thank you for pointing this out. Could you please call 311 to let them know where to find these bins and we will come to pick them up.

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  41. Anonymous, Yes, you can recycle the lids of both plastic bottles and glass jars. Waxed cardboard Milk and juice cartons may also be recycled, and aseptic packaging(layered foil-cardboard-wax cartons) such as those commononly used for single-serving juice boxes may also be recycled. It's best if you rinse the items first. Thanks for recycling!

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  42. We are a small business in Somerville and currently recycle, however we did not receive a new zero sort cart, how can I get one?

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  43. DAB, The City is currently working out Phase II of the Zero-Sort program, which includes larger residential buildings and businesses. For now, for details, please call the Director of the Office of Sustainability and Environment David Lutes at 617-625-6600 ext. 5070. ResiStat will also post an update once all of the details are firmed up.

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  44. Đức Minh là một trong nhiều hoc pha che công ty dịch vụ vận tải uy tín hàng đầu tại Việt Nam. Đề ra phương châm “luôn lấy sự hài lòng của khách hàng làm truong day pha che phương châm hoạt động”, Đức Minh đã tạo dựng được thương hiệu và hình ảnh uy tín vững chắc nơi khách hàng.

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  45. Trường trung cấp hoc nau an nghề quản lý khách sạn Việt Úc – VAAC với đội ngũ giảng viên có nhiều năm kinh nghiệm trong nghề, kèm theo sự hỗ trợ đắc lực truong day nau an của trang thiết bị hỗ trợ giảng dạy và sứ mệnh thiêng liêng của hoc nau an o dau nhà trường. Trường trung cấp day nau an o dau nghề quản lý khách sạn Việt Úc – VAAC tự tin khẳng định rằng sẽ cho ra đời nhiều thế hệ học viên tài giỏi và chất lượng nhằm đáp ứng được nhu cầu việc làm hiện tại và trong tương lai hoc nau an o tphcm. Ngoài ra, với khóa học nấu ăn, học viên dễ dàng tìm cho mình được một công việc tốt khi ra trường

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  46. Sỡ dĩ như thế truong day lam banh là vì nếu bạn có người thân, hoc lam banh o dau bạn bè đang học tập hay công tác trong ngành ẩm thực day lam banh o tphcm thì việc tham mưu ý kiến của họ để tìm cho mình một ngôi trường dạy học nấu ăn ở Tp.HCM là điều tương đối dễ dàng. Còn nếu bạn không có chút thông tin gì hay người nào để tham khảo thì đây quả thật hoc lam banh tphcm là một khó khăn lớn đối với bạn.

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  47. Hiện tại, nhu cầu học nấu ăn trên dao tao dau bep địa bàn Tp.HCM đang tăng cao. Một phần vì việc học nấu ăn ở TpHCM có thể ứng dụng nghe dau bep vào các bữa ăn của gia đình hoặc đi làm việc tại các nhà hàng, khách sạn. Một phần vì các trường dạy nấu ăn ở TpHCM có chính sách cho hoc dau bep học viên khá tốt và tối ưu hóa khả năng của học viên.

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