More than 75 percent of my trash is recyclable

More than 75 percent of my trash is recyclable

In November, I told you I was going to measure my trash for a week to see how much I'll actually be recycling now that Champaign's multifamily recycling home pickup program has begun.

The results are in.

Between Monday, Nov. 29, and this past Sunday, my roommate and I tossed 24 pounds of trash. Of that, 5.8 pounds went into the Dumpster and 18.2 pounds went into the blue recycling carts that sprouted up a few weeks ago.

I didn't measure exact volumes, but just eyeing up my two loads of trash, I say the recycling was about twice the volume of the garbage.

My results probably are not typical, because most of the recycling load's weight was the week's worth of newsprint in there. I (obviously) read The News-Gazette, and my roommate works for the Daily Illini sports desk, so we both bring a lot of newsprint home.

A week's worth of trash statistics probably is not an appropriate sample size, but if we continue at this pace, my roommate and I will keep almost half a ton of garbage out of the Dumpster. I won't extrapolate our results to the rest of the city, but city officials estimate the new recycling program will serve 30,000 residents and divert 2,600 tons annually.

I'll add that we have two of the blue recycling carts outside our complex. The above picture from this morning probably says more than I can write in words, but it's safe to say that they aren't being used to capacity. Along with the refuse that was already in it, the toter on the left was filled about halfway after I dumped in my 18 pounds. The blue cart on the right was completely empty. And as you can see, there's plenty of cardboard, bottles, cans and other recyclables piled around the Dumpster.

During the next few months, I'll be keeping an eye on how much use the city's recycling program gets, and there may be a story forthcoming on whether or not organizers will hit their 2,600 ton target.

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