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Portland Rolls Out New Recycling Carts

This press release was originally released by The City of Portland, ME on Aug. 3, 2018.

The City of Portland rolled out its new 65 and 96 gallon recycling carts this morning during a press conference. The City will begin distributing new recycling carts with wheels and lids to all residents during the week of August 7 with everyone having them by Labor Day. Peaks Island residents will have carts delivered in September. The new recycling carts are made possible through collaboration and technical assistance from The Recycling Partnership, including a grant of $7 per cart, which will fund the costs of the new carts for the first year. Already a community of strong recyclers with a robust pay-as-you-throw system in place, the City ultimately chose to move forward with the roll out of 25,000 carts to help Portland residents recycling more material and eliminate wind blown litter from the open top recycling bins.

“We knew this was something we wanted to deliver to our residents. Carts have so many benefits, from increased material recovery to reduced litter, which is very important in a coastal city like Portland,” said Portland City Manager Jon Jennings. “We really appreciate the support of the Recycling Partnership to implement this significant improvement to our recycling program.”

Recycling carts will make route collection more efficient and safer for the City’s Public Works drivers. Every home and apartment that receives trash and recycling collection from the City of Portland will receive a new cart. These will replace the small blue bins that have been in existence since 1999. Residents may keep their current bin and use them inside to collect recycling before transferring the material to the cart for collection.

The City of Portland is unique among the Partnership’s cart grant recipients because unlike some communities Portland already has a Pay-As-You-Throw waste collection program to incentivize recycling. “Part of our keen interest in Portland is testing how far carts can take a strong program that’s limited by the volume bottle-neck created by bins,” explains Jeff Meyers, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at the Partnership and creator of the economic model used in the project. “Portland was so thoughtful in their decision-making and is committed to a best in class program, we know this will be a great project.”

Another key factor at play in this recycling infrastructure improvement is jobs. “The additional recovery provided by carts directly translates into heightened job security for recycling collectors, processors, and end markets,” noted Laura Thompson, Director of Technical Marketing and Sustainable Development at Sappi North America and Chair of Recycling Works in Publishing (RWIP); RWIP is a member of The Recycling Partnership. “Sappi has more employees living in Maine than any other state, with them in mind we applaud Portland’s decision to move to carts. We are thrilled that our participation with The Recycling Partnership connects us directly with such forward-thinking local communities.”

Tips For Using Your Cart:

  • Put your cart out on your regularly scheduled collection day.  We still take the same items for recycling, just in a cart instead of a bin.
  • Put all of your recyclables in your cart. Do not place loose items on the ground or in a blue bin.  Loose materials contribute to litter.
  • Put your cart where the collection crew can reach it easily. Don’t put it behind parked carts, poles, snowbanks, or other obstacles.
  • Don’t leave your cart at the curb between collections. Store it next to your house, in a shed, or in a garage.
  • Set your cart out when it is full. Consider holding it for a week if it less than half full.
  • Your cart is assigned to your house or apartment. Please leave it for the next occupant should you move.
  • Use our new web tool to find out what you can recycle and when your collection day is.  Check back soon to download our Recycle Portland app!