Recycling customers in Petersburg should be getting their new blue collection containers in the middle of next month.

The borough plans to distribute 1,100 blue carts to customers the week of January 11th through the 15th.
Public works director Karl Hagerman said recycling will continue in blue plastic bags through that week. “And then as soon as the carts are rolled out, the following week is the first week they’ll be in use and customers should roll those out to the curb starting January 19th, ” Hagerman said.

The borough will be taking over collection from a private contractor the week of January 19th. The new blue 96-gallon collection containers have been staged at the landfill since this summer. Hagerman said the roll out will be a big job for staff that week. “The public works crew is being tabbed to pitch in. If we have snow they will not be able to participate because their first priority is snow removal of course. So it’ll pretty much be all hands on deck, anybody I can scrape together from my departments to help push the carts out.”
The rollout has been waiting the delivery of a new 207,000 dollar collection truck. That vehicle arrived in Petersburg over the weekend and staff will be training on it in the upcoming weeks. The change to the cart system has been controversial this year. Supporters of the private contractor and the blue plastic bags urged the borough to continue with that program and even considered a ballot initiative on the issue.

Hagerman sees this as the last big change for Petersburg’s recycling program. “You know it’s definitely a change but it is essentially the same program and in fact it hopefully will be easier for folks not to worry about putting things in the bag,” he said. “If they’ve got their cart set up outside their door in their driveway, it’s basically filling up a waste basket with recycling in their home and just dumping the loose contents right into the cart. It should be even simpler than it had been in the past.”

Collection will continue for commercial customers as well. Businesses will be receiving 300 gallon containers at the same time as the residential cart roll out.

With the changeover to borough collection of recyclables, the baler and landfill facility will be cutting back on hours. Starting January 19th the baler will be open noon to 3 on weekdays, without any morning hours. That will allow a borough employee to make the collection rounds for recyclables. Customers will have to roll out the new blue containers on 8 a.m. on the day after their garbage collection.

The new carts will hold a clear plastic bag with information for customers about collection schedules and acceptable materials. There’s also information available on the borough’s website.

Customers can still sign up for recycling collection, or opt out of the program by calling public works at 772-4430.