[GRRN] Biweekly Collection

RecycleWorlds (anderson@msn.fullfeed.com)
Thu, 5 Aug 1999 14:59:12 -0500

Kevin Van Vliet asked "I am doing some research on the impacts of switching
from weekly curbside
blue box collection to biweekly. We are about to implement a curbside
yardwaste collection program. That program appears to make most sense if
was instituted on a bi-weekly basis. Therefore I want to take this
opportunity to review the recycling program collection frequency. If a
change were ever to occur, having the two programs alternate might make

With regard to biweekly collection of recyclables in a bin, there are two
questions, the first dealing with the capacity of the participants to
remember which week is which. The other is whether a bin will hold two
week's worth of containers.

Based upon the following assumptions concerning the composition of the
container stream which occupies the bin:

Composition Density
Plastic 1.7% 39
Aluminum 0.7 74
Steel 1.6 150
Glass 6.3 550

It can be calculated for a typical 12 gallon bin (232 cu.in./gallon) that
the bin will be filled (on average) in 1.5 weeks. That is to say, the bin
would not be large enough. In general, an 18 gallon bin would be required
on average. But, due to the fact that there is signficant variation, there
will be a number of weeks that a participant's bin would overflow. In
those cases, there will be overflow around the bin, slowing down the driver
and leaving litter, or grocery bags etc. might be used ad hoc to
encapsulate the overflow, or participation or capture rates would

A solution to that problem is to use plastic bags. Bags rated as 30
gallons (but which when closed are actually 24 gallons) will generally be
able to have reasonable overflow capacity. And, in those rare cases where
it does not, the participant can simply deploy a second bag, putting the
full bag in the garage.

Peter Anderson
RecycleWorlds Consulting
4513 Vernon Blvd. Ste. 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Phone:(608) 231-1100/Fax: (608) 233-0011