D.C. falls short of bin recycling pledge

D.C. falls short of bin recycling pledge

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

May 23, 2014

As Washington D.C. raced to roll in new trash and recycling receptacles, a plan to recycle the old plastic bins appears to have fallen by the wayside.

On Tuesday, D.C.'s Department of Public Works admitted that more than 5,000 of the city's 71,000 de-commissioned bins have been sent to a landfill in Virginia. The old bins had begun clogging alleyways and streets and residents were eager to have them removed, public works spokesperson Linda Grant told The Washington Post.

"Under these circumstances, where safe movement was compromised, the benefit of improving safety exceeded the cost of not recycling," Grant told the paper. "Of course, residents’ interest in getting the cans removed as soon as possible was a motivator as well."

The city had arranged for all of the plastic bins to be recycled as part of a $9 million plan to replace them with 200,000 larger containers. But after an initial plan to coordinate collection and recycling efforts fell through, Mayor Vincent Gray ordered a "can removal blitz" on May 10 to expedite the process, leading to the eventual landfilling of 5,300 bins.

Approximately 53 tons of plastic has been landfilled, which, Grant noted, constitutes "just 7 percent of all cans collected."

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