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65-gallon recycling cart is in your future

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of March 26, 2015)

In an effort to meet the goal of recycling 75 percent of the county’s waste by the year 2020 without imposing mandatory trash collection or a wholesale shutdown of convenience centers, the Indian River County Solid Waste Disposal District is launching a major shift in the way residents recycle.

All Indian River County residents pay for curbside recycling pickup in their annual tax bills, but not everyone takes the time to sort plastic, glass, paper and cans via the current two-bin system.

Starting Oct. 1, residents will be issued a 65-gallon plastic rolling cart or toter to contain all the recyclables they put out at the curb. The system, called “single-stream recycling,” makes it easier to participate, so the county is hoping to capture more of the valuable recyclables currently going into the trash – and into the landfill.

“Waste Management, Inc. of Florida will deliver a 65-‐gallon cart with wheels and a lid that provides increased capacity and a smaller footprint than the current two blue bins. This will help increase participation and increase tonnages,” said Solid Waste Director Himanshu Mehta.

Unlike the open bins, the toter will have a hinged lid, so it can be placed at the side or back of the house or in the garage or utility room without attracting critters to the food residue that may be left on the recyclables. County officials say they’ve measured the toter, and it actually takes up less floor space than two blue recycling bins placed side by side.

As part of the changes approved by the Board when the countywide hauling franchise was awarded to Waste Management, the county will put resources into a public education campaign about the new recycling system before the Oct. 1 rollout.

Residents in unincorporated county areas such as on the South Barrier Island will also see some differences in their trash collection service – and a major decrease in their trash collection rates due to the new franchise contract. Beginning Oct. 1, rates will decrease 35 percent from $14.98 to $9.68 per month for once-a-week trash pickup and residents will no longer use their own trash cans.

Waste Management will deliver a 95-gallon rolling cart or toter for trash for those residents who subscribe to curbside pickup. That cart will be equipped with a radio-frequency transmitter and will be picked up by an automated truck with an arm that lifts and dumps the toter. “This will improve efficiency, reduce worker injuries, create less litter and eliminate the ‘sticker’ program,” Mehta said.

Should residents find that the 65-gallon cart is too large for their family’s needs, county officials say each customer will have a one-time opportunity to request a change-out to a smaller cart.

Trash collection schedules and containers for the City of Vero Beach and the Town of Indian River Shores will not change from what customers have now, though both the Shores and Vero are on the county system slated for the recycling changes. For more information, go to the SWDD website at