With an estimated 83,322 people in Bloomington, according to a U.S. Census report, the amount of trash and recycling for the city forces crews to start at 5 a.m. four days a week.
The amount of solid waste has steadily increased over the last few years due to economic expansion and population growth.
Bloomington adopted the Pay-As-You-Throw program as a way to combat this increase in 1993. The program uses stickers that citizens attach to their trash or can that is put out on the curb, according to the City of Bloomington website.
The stickers cost $2 for trash and $1 for yard waste and can be purchased at several locations, including all Kroger, Marsh and Bloomingfood stores, Sahara Mart, Bloomington Hardware and City Hall.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency website, the system is meant as a way of encouraging citizens to produce less waste and recycle more. The program does have regulations though.
Each trash bag or container cannot exceed 35 gallons or 40 pounds, according to the City of Bloomington website.
Hazardous materials cannot be collected, and large items like tables and mattresses require two stickers.
Despite increases in population, trash collection has not increased since the ‘90s, while recycling collection has almost doubled in the same time period.
Certain areas like commercial properties and apartment complexes with privately owned streets are exempt from the program, but could further decrease the amount of trash if they were included in the program.
Quick tips for recycling
Reuse water bottles instead of buying new ones.
Buy products made from recycled materials.
Buy food that uses limited packaging.
Print only what you need, and double-sided when possible.
Read documents on a computer or other device instead of printing them.
Donate unwanted items to local charities.
Use reusable bags instead of paper or plastic.
In dining halls, take only what you need of food, condiments and napkins.