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[greenyes] split cart recycling and town homes with no space


I live in a 73 unit town home complex in Mtn View, California. The City
and it's hauler are converting our curbside recycling program from
stackable recycling crates to split cart automated collection. Our
homeowners get and pay for single family dwelling service, not
multi-family shared garbage/recycling service. Most of the units are
single car garage and very narrow. They provide just enough room to open
a car door 1/2 to 2/3rds open. Even the 21 units with two car garages
can barely fit a car and the "gosh dare I say it old fashioned stackable
recycling crates". My garage can fit our new 20 gallon hiding in the
body of a 32 gallon garbage cart, just, and still be able to get the car
in the garage. No unit has a side yard. The ends of units are common
area and in most cases include guest parking spaces. And parking is
always overfilled andlack of parking is our number one cause of neighbor

When I contacted the City, staff said that they were aware of our
problem. (For years I have been complaining that my town home complex
can't use the yard waste recycling program because none of us can fit the
96 gallon carts or even the smallest, the 64 gallon carts in our garages.
And staff admitted that they knew of the cart size problem as I've been
bringing this to their attention over the years and yet they have offered
no solution but to not participate in greenwaste recycling. But now the
problem is compounded by requiring the use of 64 gallon split recycling
carts. Four to seven other complexes in the City apparently have the
same problem. And the new collection goes City wide on March 1, 2004.

Now to the problem. Mtn. View Staff have suggested the following
remedies to the container/automated collection system problem:

1. Try to fit the 64 gallon split carts in our garages.

2. Leave them out in front of the homes (which means either in front of
the garage door and have to move them each time a car goes in and out of
a garage - or -
put the cart in the only space left, directly next to each homes
front door. The City will give us a waiver allowing this 'trashing' of
the front of our homes. The rest of the City would have to maintain the
no exposed containers w/n 24 of collection day. Ooohhh, lucky us.

3. Give up 2-4 parking spaces and have homeowners walk their recyclables
to a group recycling spot - for some homeowners that will mean a walk of
.1 to .2 miles.

4. And either use MFD recycling carts or mixed recycling dumpsters

Our complex in a well maintained, middle, upper middle class
neighborhood. Keeping garbage carts.... ok split recycling carts,
exposed on a daily bases is unacceptable. We simple can't lose anymore
parking. We'd have neighbors shooting each other. And after just
completing a 73 unit construction defect project we have no money to
built attractive enclosures to house recycling carts of dumpsters. Nor
do we have the space to build such enclosures. So what are we to do?

The City says we absolutely can not continue to use stackable crates.
The new trucks will not allow their use! (Not sure I believe this but I
will accept being educated on this.) I sorta think the solution is to
require the trucks to carry a split cart and the drivers will have to
pour/dump our residents crated recyclables into the cart which can then
be lifted to the split truck. The drivers certainly won't like this, for
sure it will lengthen their day. But the City and the Hauler should have
thought of that before they create a program that our new "smart growth
high density housing" dictates.

Now I have over 18 years in the recycling field and I truly understand
the need to reduce injuries caused by recycling drivers picking up
garbage and recycling. And I understand the need to create recycling
programs that operate as efficiently (cheaply) as possible (speed of
collection). But while 100% of my neighbors participate in curbside
recycling, this new program discourages recycling and will reduce both
tonnage and participation. So I'd like to know if any of you local
government recycling coordinators have had to deal with this problem. If
you have any create win-win solutions.

And finally, Recycling Coordinators, when you design new programs, are
you talking to people who live in all the housing types in your
communities so you identify problems ahead of time and incorporate
programs that don't treat some residents so badly.


Ann Schneider
Boardmember, Oaktree Commons HOA
Mtn. View CA

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