Charlotte, N.C. -- New recycling bins will begin arriving at more than 200,000 homes next month after city leaders Monday approved the purchase of the 96-gallon containers.
The larger cans, which will be the same size as city-issued trash receptacles, replace the 18-gallon bins which have been used by Charlotte for about 16 years.
"It’s a very significant change," said Victoria Garland, Director of Charlotte's Solid Waste Services, adding residents can continue using their older bins or leave the containers in the newer cans to be recycled.
Residents who do not have the ability to store an additional 96-gallon container on their property can also ask the city to take back the new bin, she said.
Beginning in July, curbside collection of recyclables will occur every two weeks instead of the current weekly pickup.
Garland said the change will allow the city to consolidate collection routes, taking the equivalent of 22 trucks off the road.
Recyclable materials will be combined in a single container without the need to sort items, she said.
About $15 million could be saved over five years from the "single-stream" recycling process and by reducing the frequency of curbside collections, Garland said.
She said some workers currently assigned to curbside recycling collection could be moved to other jobs within the city's department.
The potential savings will offset the $12 million expense of purchasing the new recycling bins and 100,000 additional containers over the next decade, said city council member Andy Dulin.
"That’s a big number," Dulin said of the anticipated savings.
He encouraged city staff to give residents as much notice as possible about the upcoming changes in the recycling program.
"We like it done the way it’s been done. So for all of these people, we have to absolutely communicate."