Published On: Wed, Jun 15th, 2016

Recycling gets ready to ‘go all in’

A week from today, residents of east Davenport will begin receiving their new “single stream” recycling carts that will replace the small blue containers they use now.

Delivery will mark the beginning of a rollout that will continue through the city, moving from east to west, until every household has a new cart. Delivery in Bettendorf is expected to begin sometime the week of July 18.

Plastic Recycling

Recycling gets ready to ‘go all in’

In both cities, the new carts are expected to be in place when “single stream” recycling begins Aug. 1.

The move to single-stream — in which residents put in all numbered plastic containers except Styrofoam and plastic bags — is because it encourages people to recycle more, according to studies cited by Kathy Morris, director of the Waste Commission of Scott County.

In both cities, pickup will be every other week, which is the same for Davenport but a change for Bettendorf. Bettendorf’s bulky waste pickup also will increase to every other week, to coincide with recycling pickup.

Under discussion since 2003, single-stream is expected to bring in about twice the amount of recyclable material as the current system, Morris said. At present, plastic containers with the numbers 3, 4, 5 and 7 are not accepted, so they are buried in a landfill.

In addition, studies have shown there is some reluctance among people to recycle anything when they are asked to separate recyclables going to “dual stream” systems.

To accommodate the switch, the Scott Area Recycling Center has been expanded and retrofitted with new sorting equipment, for a total cost of $8.4 million. New equipment is needed because even though residents will be putting everything into one bin, the center still must separate it into various categories to sell it.

Another cost is the $2.7 million for new carts, replacing the small blue bins in Davenport and the large, two-section carts in Bettendorf.

The cost of the center and equipment is being financed by the waste commission using bonds that will be repaid over time by revenue from the sale of recyclables, including the revenue that currently is given back to cities for the percentage of recyclables that come from each city.

If recycle markets fall to a point that there is no profit — which is the case at present — the cost of the carts could come from the cities’ general funds, Morris said.