LaGRANGE — City employees started rolling out blue recycling bins for curbside recycling to residents Tuesday.
Deliveries will continue for the next few days, said David Brown, public services director for the city of LaGrange.
So far, about 400 people have signed up for the cans, said Ronnie Cantrell, the city’s public works manager. The city initially ordered 600 bins, but will order more as more people elect to receive the service.
“We’re not going to tell anybody they can’t have one,” Cantrell said.
The new city program, which will start collections Feb. 1, is no charge to residents. All recyclables but glass — including tin, aluminum, plastic, paper and cardboard — can be thrown in the recycle cans and the city will pick them up for free.
The program is “single-stream recycling,” meaning there is no need to sort the items by material; all recycling can be thrown into one bin.
The bins come with instructions on what kind of materials are accepted and how they should be prepared before going into the bin — for instance, all food and liquid should be cleaned from containers and cardboard boxes should be broken down. The recyclable materials will be picked up the same day as residents’ trash, but every other week instead of weekly.
Since the program is voluntary for residents, the city is not offering back-door pickup because it would be too costly, Cantrell said.
Residents can still reserve their recycle cans — but it comes with a catch. At a cost of about $50 each, the city wants to make sure people who ask for the cans actually follow through and use them, otherwise they will be charged for the cost of the bin.
Cantrell said the rules are still being sorted out, and the city likely won’t enforce the rule the first few months as everyone gets settled with using the bins. After that, workers may leave a note if the bin hasn’t been used in over a month, and likely get at least two more warnings before the city charges the customer.
Also, if there is garbage or waste in the bins, workers will not pick it up and notify the resident that they will need to clean it out.
The blue recycle cans are the same size and shape as the familiar gray garbage bins already in use around LaGrange.
“It seems to be taking off pretty good in my opinion,” Cantrell said. “Some areas of town have not kicked in yet, but I expect them to eventually. We’ve been getting a positive response from those who are getting the cans. … Since it’s voluntary, I believe people getting the cans intend to use them.”
Matthew Strother is the editor of LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153.