Trash talk: Memphis is upgrading its recycling system

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis is closing the lid on sorting your recyclables. Starting this summer, you’ll see these bigger bins on the side of the road.

They can hold a lot more, and they require less work. Director of Public Works Dwan Gilliom says getting Memphians on board to recycle is a challenge.

“They don’t like the idea of having to sort with the new 96 gallon container, all they have to do is just throw it in.”

So it’s out with the small and in with the big, thanks to the new single sort technology that does the sorting for you at a warehouse.

If you’re wondering why all of this took so long, first re-community needed to invest in the single-sort system, which can take all the recycling at once. Then the city followed suit. It turns out going green cost a lot of green.

These new bins cost $44 a pop. The city needs 170,000 of them. That’s few million bucks right there.

Then there’s the new combo trucks that can handle trash and recycling at once. They’re $200,000 each, and the city needs 70 of them.  That’s $7 million.

The savings start by taking less trash to the landfill.

Right now the city spends $7 million a year hauling away your trash.

Gilliom expects that cost to go down, because there’s more recycling.

Gilliom said, “So you don’t have to turn over the plastic container and see what numbers on the bottom will take all plastics.”

Plus the city makes money off your recycled goods.

So the more you put in here, the more money the city makes, and hopefully the less you pay in service fees.


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