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EcoGram: Curbside Recycling FAQ

Post Date:05/27/2014

The Virginia Peninsulas Public Service Authority (VPPSA) has provided information about the changes to the curbside recycling program in Williamsburg.  The FAQ appear below, or you can download a pdf of the information here or watch a video:

Key Dates:
June 25, 2014: Last collection day in Williamsburg using the 18-gallon bin

July 9, 2014: First collection using the new carts

Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my curbside recycling service changing?
The current regional curbside recycling contract has run its seven year term and will end in June of this year. A new contract, with a new contractor, will take effect on June 30, 2014. The new contractor providing the collection and processing services to the region is County Waste (a private solid waste and recycling company- not affiliated with any County). Residents of James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County are included in this regional curbside recycling program.

What changes can I expect?
1. Residents will be provided with new recycling carts with wheels and an attached lid to use with this program; 18 gallon bins will no longer be serviced through this new program.
Benefits: Recycling carts provide more room for recyclable materials. The carts have wheels to make them easy to place at the curb. The carts also have lids which will reduce litter from wind-blown material and create a cleaner appearance on recycling day.

2. The new program will provide an automated collection system, which means the collection trucks will use a mechanical arm to lift the cart and empty the recyclable materials into the truck.
Benefits: The drivers do not have to get in and out of the trucks at each stop. This reduces the contractor’s overall cost and, in turn, reduces the cost of the program to the communities.

3. The carts will be serviced every other week.
Benefits: Every other week service reduces truck traffic in your neighborhood, wear and tear on the roads, and reduces emissions from the trucks.

4. Additional plastics will be accepted for recycling. The new contractor will be accepting a wider variety of plastics to include: plastic bottles and jugs, wide-mouth containers such as butter tubs and yogurt cups, clamshell containers such as salad bar and bakery containers, and rigid plastics such as flower pots, pails and buckets.
Benefits: Increased amounts of materials recycled means less waste sent to landfills. 


When and how will I get my recycling cart?
Delivery of recycling carts to residents will begin after Memorial Day and will continue through the first three weeks of June. Carts may not be placed at the curb for service until Williamsburg’s first service day: July 9, 2014.

How big is the cart? What are the dimensions?
1. Recycling carts will have a capacity of 65 gallons, and are approximately 40.5 inches tall, 26.5 inches wide, and 28 inches deep. This is about 3.5 times the capacity of the current 18 gallon bin.

2. A 65 gallon cart will be provided (see dimensions above), but the largest cart that may be available now or in the future would be a 95 gallon cart. The homeowner may wish to build their enclosure to accommodate the larger cart to provide a more flexible storage space. The 95 gallon cart is approximately 45 inches tall, 28.5 inches wide, and 33.5 inches deep, which is the same size as most carts used for trash collection in the region.

If I don't have room for the recycling cart, can I continue to use my old recycling bins?
After June 26, 2014, only carts will be accepted for the curbside collection of recyclable materials. Although the new recycling carts are taller and have a greater capacity than the current 18 gallon bin, the footprint of the cart is actually not much larger.

What can I do if I find that the cart is too large or too small?
All residents will receive a 65 gallon cart during the month of June. After August 4, if residents find that the cart is either too large or too small, they can call VPPSA or their community recycling contact and request a different size cart. The time for delivery of the new cart will depend on the number of requests that are received.

What can I do if I can’t move the cart out to the street?
Most residents will find that moving the new recycling cart to the street is much easier than carrying the 18-gallon bin to the street. If anyone is physically unable to move the cart to the street, they should call VPPSA or the community recycling contact.

What should I do with my old 18 gallon recycling bin(s)?
Residents may keep their 18-gallon bin and use them for recycling or some other purpose. Some residents may want to use the 18-gallon bins to store recyclables in their house and then carry them outside to the cart. Residents can call VPPSA at 259-9850 if they do not want to keep their bin. VPPSA will make arrangements for collection of the bin. James City County residents may drop off bins at any of the County convenience centers.

COLLECTION SCHEDULE – carts must be at the curb by 7 AM on collection day
Is my collection day for recycling going to change?

Most residents will not have a change in their collection day. Collection days may change for some residents. The contractor is currently preparing route sheets with the intent of not changing collection days.

How will I know which week my cart will be collected?
Beginning July 2014, recycling will be collected every-other-week instead of weekly. An information package will be included when the new carts are delivered. The information will include a calendar indicating which day and week the recyclables will be collected.

Where should I put my cart for collection?
Recycling carts should be placed in the same location you currently put your bin for collection. Please make sure that the lid opening is facing the street, and allow for a minimum clearance of three (3) feet around your recycling cart so that the truck will not have a problem servicing the cart. Please make sure the cart is not put out for collection until the first service day - July 9, 2014.

What materials will be accepted?
The materials to be collected through the program with the new recycling carts will be same as currently accepted plus some additional plastics. Materials to be accepted will include the following:

  • Newsprint
  • Mixed paper – including paper bags, junk mail, magazines, catalogs, newspaper inserts, and cereal boxes
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Clear, brown and green glass
  • Metal cans
  • Aluminum cans and foil products
  • All plastic bottles and jugs, wide-mouth containers such as butter tubs and yogurt cups, clamshell containers such as salad bar containers, strawberry containers, bakery product containers
  • Rigid plastics such as flower pots, buckets and pails, plastic toys

How much can I put out- does it all have to be in the cart?
Please attempt to place all recyclables in the cart. If you have too many recyclables, they may be placed in a paper bag or other container and placed next to the cart for collection. Do not place additional recyclables in plastic bags!

If you find that you frequently have more recyclables than will fit in the cart, you may call VPPSA or your community recycling contact after August 4 and request a larger cart.

Can I bag my recyclables in plastic bags before placing them in the cart?
No. Plastic bags are damaging to the equipment used to process recyclable materials. Since the materials go to a single stream processing facility, there is never a need to bag your recyclables, except in the case of shredded paper. Small amounts of shredded paper can be put in paper bags and placed inside your recycling cart. Please return your plastic bags to Farm Fresh, Food Lion, Target, Wal-Mart, or any participating plastic bag take-back locations. Plastic bags can be delivered to any of the James City County convenience centers for recycling.

Household waste and trash will not be accepted in the recycling carts
Please note that recycling carts containing large amounts of household waste and trash will not be serviced. Continuous use of the recycling cart for trash items will result in the removal of the recycling cart.

What if my new recycling cart is stolen or if I have other questions?
Please contact the City's Public Works Department at 757-220-6140

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