What's green and blue and won't fit in the garage?
After 15 months of talking about them, those clean, shiny new green and blue recycling rolling carts finally arrived at our house late last week, as they have all over Portland in recent weeks. They're lovely -- much nicer than the garbage bill increases that came along with them, effective July 1. The green one is for yard debris, the blue one for other recycling. We're adjusting the waste disposal rituals at our house to take advantage of the covered carts.
Already there are problems, of course. One maddening one is that they dumped off the new carts without giving us a chance to get rid of any of our old recycling gear. We are active recyclers, and we already had two yellow recycling bins and a large rolling cart for our sometimes-oversize yard debris loads, which we pay extra to have the hauler cart away. Indeed, the old yard debris cart is bigger than the new one.
We suppose they'll be telling us to use the old yellow bins for glass, which needs to be kept out of the other recycling, but we already have a nice, reused plastic bucket with a handle, which works just fine for that purpose. One or the other is going to have to go, because we don't have room for (a) a garbage can, (b) a blue recycling cart, (c) a green yard debris cart, (d) the old yard debris cart, (e) the old yellow recycling bins, and (f) the bucket for glass.
Is there going to be a program of collecting the old bins and carts? Or are we supposed to cut them up and throw them in the landfill? Yikes, how many of those old yellow recycling bins are going to wind up in the landfill?
Elsewhere, neighbors are giving the new carts a chilly reception for other reasons. It's not that they want the hauler to come and take away their old gear -- they don't want the new stuff in the first place. One resident writes:
We're having some problems with the city/haulers regarding the massive new roll carts.The thought of an infill condo owner being unhappy with the City of Portland version of sustainability does warm our heart. But gee, in a city with 200 or more bureaucrat planners on the payroll, you would think that a changeover like this one would have been better... you know, planned.
We live in one of the city’s TOD (transit-oriented developments) with the small townhouses you love to hate. The garage opening is wide enough for a car, but not a car and a roll cart. Our [homeowner association] rules prohibit carts staying outside. We've called multiple city offices (Office of Sustainable Development, Saltzman’s office, Adams’s office) to say that the carts aren’t feasible in our complex (the woman across from us is in her 80s), and their response is that trying them for 30 days is mandatory before switching down to 30 gallons. They also stuck us all with 60-gallon yard debris carts, even though we have no yards. They claim everyone in the pilot program preferred the larger carts.
There are owners trying to sell their homes and realtors upset with all the carts outside. Half of the townhomes have no driveways, making this choice of cart even more inappropriate. One city higher-up told us to tell our neighbors to "chill."
OSD: "Welcome to Portland, here’s your new 60-gallon roll cart bin! (x2)"