Proof There is a Market for Recycling in Charlottesville (and Albemarle)

You may remember a story a few months ago in which I discussed recycling options in Charlottesville and Albemarle. It used to be that there were no options, then there was one and now there are a few.

Three years ago I ran a poll questioning the market for curbside recycling in Albemarle.

The City of Charlottesville provides recycling for free* and charges to pick up trash:

Individual trash stickers for 13-gallon and 32-gallon trash bags are available in the City Hall Lobby and at many convenience and grocery stores in the Charlottesville area.

If you want proof that there’s a market for recycling in Albemarle, look at this picture. The green trash cans are provided by the firm that provides curbside recycling; blue by the one who doesn’t. 90 days ago, these cans were all blue.


People want to recycle; it just has to be convenient to get the masses to adopt.

Then read about the absurd lawsuit by the local government mob waste authority trying to put the kibosh on the company that provides the destination for curbside, un-sorted recycling.

There’s surely more to the story, but at what point does government realize that they are obsolete?

Either way, it seems that the market is showing that given the choice, people will recycle in Charlottesville and Albemarle.

* free in that people pay taxes.
** I’d think a paid journalist might want to follow up on this story; talk to trash companies and ask what they’ve seen since they’ve started offering curbside recycling and ask the ones that don’t why they don’t follow.

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  1. Jeff November 9, 2009 at 15:15

    Hey Jim – I am the neighborhood association president for a neighborhood in Albemarle County and have been noticing the same thing about trash haulers. Our association sponsored a picnic a couple of weeks ago and trash was a major discussion point – nearly everybody had switched to Time. I called my own hauler about a year ago and complained that Time charges less and they cut me a break, but not without making it sound like they were having trouble paying their bills. And that was before Time started the recycling option. I think haulers who don’t offer curbside recycling are going to continue to see business drop off.
    In staying with my hauler, I feel like the last shopper at K-Mart when everyone else has switched to Wal-Mart.

  2. Doug Francis November 9, 2009 at 16:09

    In my town, Vienna, the recycling program yields one of the highest percentages of any program in the Commonwealth of Virginia. They have expanded the types of plastics collected and no longer require us to sort and separate cardboard, paper and plastic. Everything now goes in one bin for extra convenience and only one truck has to drive around for pick ups.

    I was told by an inside source that in the past year raw material costs have increased thus making the recyclables more valuable ($$$). It is more than just a feel-good, “green” program for the Town of Vienna but a sound financial decision too.

    So, you are the guy driving around taking pictures of garbage cans… isn’t there a Google app for that?

  3. Jim Duncan November 11, 2009 at 09:51

    Jeff –

    That is fantastic. My biggest hope is that the RWSA doesn’t shut down the vanderlinde recycling facility. I love non-sorting-recycling!

  4. Dirt Worshipper November 17, 2009 at 13:08

    I remember when I first learned about Vanderlinde’s facility, and we were all blown away by how great it was and what it would do for our area. I have to agree that if a private company has learned how to do something better then local government should get out it’s way. Instead the RWSA has become a roadblock to progress.

    As you say, I’m sure there’s more to the story, but they’ve been given ample opportunity to tell their side and so far I’ve still not seem a justifiable reason for the witch hunt (beyond the fact that Vanderlinde might render them obsolete. )

  5. Jim Duncan November 17, 2009 at 22:05

    Dirt Worshipper –

    Absolutely agreed. This seems to be a local government agency struggling (with our tax dollars) to maintain relevance. Maybe they could shut down and work for Vanderlinde.

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