My question is about these large garbage containers in the city and county. The top wears out much quicker than the container itself. Somebody told me that the city was going to replace hers without any charge. Who can I call to get tops for 2-3 containers that I have on rental property [in the city]? I think it would be much cheaper than replacing the whole container.Reed Brooks McGhee, GoodviewA:
Mr. McGhee, you are certainly correct that it’s a lot cheaper to just replace the lids on what the folks in the solid waste management departments refer to as the “big blues.” And whoever told you that you could get them replaced without any charge is absolutely correct.
I called Skip Decker, division manager for the Roanoke Solid Waste Department, and Nancy Duval, who holds a similar position in Roanoke County, and both said that all you have to do is call their office and give your address and they’ll put you on a list to get your lids replaced. To reach the city, call 853-2000 and select option 1 when you get to the automated voice. The county number is 387-6225.
Decker says that at the moment they are waiting for an order of 600 lids to arrive from a supplier, and that there are 113 folks on a list for repair. He expects the lids to come in any day, and once they arrive, “we go out blitzing with a crew of three or four people, and it’s about seven working days to get them all replaced.”
The city is also happy to replace recycling containers. The ones most of us are using were originally distributed in 2002-03, and judging from the ones on my street, many of them are now held together with duct tape and are showing their age. If yours are broken or you don’t have any, you can call and leave your address and they’ll come and replace them. But first, Decker asks if you’ll look carefully around your property.
“I’d say a good 85 percent of the bins we get requests for, we find that people have them already, filled with leaves, trash, grass, automotive parts, sitting in their alleys.”
Recycling is one of Decker’s favorite topics, and I wondered if he had anything else he wanted to share. He leapt at the chance as if he’d just been waiting for someone to ask.
“Recycling is never meant to make money. It’s an old wives’ tale. Recycling is cost avoidance. We pay $47 a ton to dispose of trash. When people recycle, 90 percent of what they throw away is paper. Newspaper, junk mail, magazines, office paper, cereal boxes, gift boxes, shoeboxes, corrugated. For that, we pay $19 a ton for disposal. That’s $28 a ton of cost avoidance. That’s where the city makes money. By not spending it.”
“If people would recycle, I can guarantee, GUARANTEE, you would never fill your big blue. You could have 12 people in your family and I can guarantee you would never fill your big blue.”
Decker says that only about 40 percent of Roanokers recycle regularly. So it appears to me that you who don’t are costing the rest of us money. Want to keep taxes down? One thing you can do is use those bins as they were intended.If you’ve been wondering about something, call “What’s on Your Mind?” at 777-6476 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to provide your full name, its proper spelling and your hometown.
Look for Tom Landon’s column on Mondays. Visit the blog at blogs.roanoke.com/whatsonyourmind.