County expanding use of large recycling bins, which city continues to study

dhinshaw@thestate.comJanuary 5, 2014 

Richland County is expanding a program giving customers larger recycling rollcarts, as neighbors in adjoining Columbia continue waiting for the service.

Starting Monday, larger recycling rollcarts will be delivered to about 17,000 households in unincorporated Richland County.

The county is providing the large, lime-green rollcarts for cardboard, glass, plastic and other recycleables to each of its garbage customers over a three-year period.

In this second year, the rollcarts will go to those in southwestern and northeastern Richland County, said Rudy Curtis, interim solid waste director.

All affected customers should get a container by the end of the month, he said.

“This simply encourages more recycling,” Curtis said. “We now can take a very substantial percentage of what’s going in the trash” to be recycled.

Recycling rollcarts are emptied every other week instead of weekly, as red bins are.

Curtis said the county is collecting data to measure the amount being recycled in the larger containers to determine whether garbage is decreasing in those areas.

“By this time next year, we’ll have a good grip on how it’s playing out,” he said.

The city of Columbia, meanwhile, is still studying a move to larger recycling containers.

Forest Hills resident Debbie Long would welcome the change.

Long said Monday she doesn’t understand why county residents are getting recycling rollcarts – which she finds preferable because they’re enclosed – while the city continues to use small bins.

Solid waste director Robert Anderson said he will again take the proposal to City Council as part of the budget discussions in the spring.

Providing the rollcarts to city residents would cost an estimated $2 million, Anderson said, though there would be anticipated savings by cutting the number of trucks on the road and less trash going to the landfill.

Anderson said he sought recycling rollcarts as part of the current year’s budget and was continuing to investigate ways to fund the request.

He pointed out the city accepts the same recycleable items as the county.

The city handles trash service in-house, while the county contracts with private companies to provide garbage and recycling services.

Richland County, as part of its publicity campaign, made a commercial airing on public-access television and YouTube using county staff as the voices of animated characters. Omah McClinton, a solid waste employee, plays himself.

Beverly Harris, public information director, said the 30-second piece was produced in-house by Justin Martin at no extra cost to taxpayers.

Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service