LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Big changes are coming to the streets of La Crosse this winter.
"There shouldn't be a whole lot that's going into your garbage anymore these days," said Brandon Shea, City of La Crosse Recycling Coordinator. "You'll have food waste, some contaminated food wrapping, but other than that, the majority of stuff will be recyclable."
A new "automated" refuse and recycling collection system will be hitting the streets in February 2014. More items will be recyclable and the city will be adopting a "single stream recycling" system which means all recycling goes into the same bin.
"Even when it comes to Christmas time," said Shea. "Your cardboard from your gifts, your Styrofoam, all that stuff will be able to go into the recycling."
A complete list of recyclable materials for the 2014 Calendar year can be found on the City of La Crosse website at http://www.cityoflacrosse.org/DocumentCenter/View/7842 .
In the first part of this change, residents will need to swap out their trash cans and recycling bins for "automated carts." Property owners in the City of La Crosse can expect a postcard in the mail this week to choose what size trash and recycling carts they want. These bins are free of charge.
There are three sizes of carts to choose from, 95-gallon, 65-gallon, and 35-gallon. Under the new recycling guidelines, most residents will have more recycling than trash, so only the 65 and 95 gallon carts are available for recycling.
All collection days and locations will be staying the same.
"It shouldn't be a whole lot different," said Shea. "It should be a little bit easier actually when you're rolling your recycling out as opposed to carrying it and having everything falling off the edges, you'll have a lot more room."
New collection trucks will be able to lift and empty these carts without the driver setting foot outside.
Shea said the only real difference in the collection process is that carts need to be placed within one foot of the curb and three feet away from each other and any fixed objects for the automated system to work. All trash and recycling must fit inside the carts as well. Additional bags cannot be picked up with the new system
"We'll be able to recycle more, more efficiently, and in a more timely manner," said Shea. "The injuries will go down for any contracted service worker. They won't be climbing in and out of the vehicles."
Shea said the new system will bring La Crosse back to national standards and is a step toward being a "green city."
Residents can get a closer look at the new carts at City Hall or at the Municipal Service Center on Isle La Plume
The cart selection deadline is October 7th. Residents that haven't picked sizes by then will receive one 95-gallon recycling cart and one 95-gallon refuse cart. The carts will be distributed sometime after thanksgiving.
For more information on the new refuse and recycling collection system, the carts, and other chances you can visit the refuse and recycling page of City of La Crosse website at http://www.cityoflacrosse.org/index.aspx?nid=20 .
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