Cape trash collectors see large increase in number of recycling stops

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The new automated trash and recycling program began Monday, May 3, 2010 in Cape Girardeau. The truck operator stays in the cab while the mechanical arm hoists a green bin filled with mixed recyclables. (Fred Lynch)

The number of recycling stops in Cape Girardeau increased almost 70 percent in the first week of automated trash collections, said Mike Tripp, head of the solid waste division at the city Department of Public Works.

While he could not say how much more material had been collected by weight, Tripp said the first week was an impressive showing that he hopes will only get better.

Before the change, regular recycling collections averaged 2,722 stops each week, Tripp said, Last week, trucks made 4,610 stops to pick up recyclable items. The city collects trash and recycling from about 11,000 residences.

Tripp said the consultants who advised the city on the switch told city officials they could expect "at least a 40 percent increase." The new city-owned trash and recycling bins were delivered in early April and the first collections were done May 3.

"Does it mean we had three weeks' worth of stuff that people set out? I don't know," Tripp said. "I am kind of curious to see where we are for this week."

Every sector of the city showed an increase in recycling collections, ranging from 54.5 percent to 158.1 percent. That big increase in recycling collections was Thursday, in the area of the city east of Perry Avenue and Perryville Road, south of Cape Rock Drive and north of Broadway. Trucks made 821 recycling collections in that area, compared to a weekly average of 318, Tripp said.

"I am tickled big-time by that," he said.

Other increases included a 59.4 percent jump Tuesday in the area west of Kingshighway and south of Hopper Road, to 971 stops from an average of 609, and 58.2 percent on Friday in the section north of Hopper Road and northwest of Cape Rock Drive, with 2,233 stops compared to an average of 1,411. The smallest increase was May 3, south of Broadway and east of Kingshighway, with a 54.5 percent jump as 585 stops were made compared to the average of 384.

Cape Girardeau last week deployed its new collection trucks with grappling arms to empty trash bins. Before that, each residential solid waste customer received two new bins, a 64-gallon bin for regular garbage and a 96-gallon bin for recyclables. The garbage bin is tan, and the recycling bin is green.

Unlike the previous system, where recyclable goods were placed at the curb separated by type, customers can fill the new bins with a mixture of goods except glass.

The city collects trash and recycling four days a week.

The city normally fills a single semitrailer with baled recyclables each week, Tripp said. An empty trailer was delivered Monday. As workers were processing the Friday collections, they made 15 bales and Tripp expects to need a second trailer by Wednesday.

The numbers of people confused about which bin to use dropped dramatically Monday and collections were completed much earlier than last week, he said.

rkeller@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

2007 Southern Expressway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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