Monroe recycling made simpler

MONROE – Relief for Michael Donow’s backache arrived recently: a new all-in-one recycling cart with wheels.

“It’s easier on your back,” said Donow, who lives on North Madison Street. “You just roll it, roll it out to the street.”

Like others in town, Donow, 42, said his family and tenants used to separate recyclables into three open containers, and he was the one who carried them to the street.

The new 64-gallon cart has a lid on it.

“It doesn’t gather water, dirt or moss,” he said.

Waste Management, which has a contract with the city to collect trash and recycle materials through August 2010, distributed the new carts to customers March 15-19, said Carol Grey, the city’s finance director.

Customers can keep their old recycling carts or have them taken away the first week of June, Grey said.

The city hopes that the all-in-one cart will simplify and encourage recycling, Grey said.

“Hopes are this recycling bin would reduce the garbage, which controls the (garbage) dumping fee.”

The new carts don’t cost customers any more, said Tim Crosby, a senior district manager of Waste Management. The collection schedule will be the same, too. The company will empty them once a week.

Then, the collected materials go to the company’s Cascade Recycling Center in Woodinville, Crosby said. The 84,000-square-foot center opened in October and recycles about 10,000 tons of materials from Snohomish, Skagit and King counties each month, Crosby said.

The center separates bottles, cans, paper and cardboard by using streams of air and magnets, Crosby said, adding the process still involves manual labor.

Monroe joins other cities that switched to the company’s new recycling cart, including Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood, Crosby said. The company, which Crosby said serves about 110,000 customers in the county, also has delivered the new carts to most of its customers in the county’s unincorporated areas.

Waste Management is negotiating with Marysville and Arlington to switch to the new carts, he added.

The company has heard some customers complain that the carts are too big, Crosby said. But in general it has received positive feedback.

“We’ve seen the renewed interest in recycling, and more people are participating,” he said.

Crosby said he hopes that Monroe customers like the new carts.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “But I think the City Council was really excited to provide this service to its constituencies.”

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or

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