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Phil the Recycling Cart Has Arrived. Here’s How We Grade Him.


Friday, June 14, 2013, by Buddy Saunders

Recycling carts were first delivered in south Arlington, with the delivery process then moving north. Last week carts arrived in north Arlington so we assume that the whole city has them by now.

Let’s grade Phil the recycling cart on several points.

“A” for Capacity “Phil” the recycling cart can gobble up a lot of recycling. Even the most avid recycler will be challenged to top out Phil each week.

“B” for Convenience of storage The major objection we hear—and we hear it a lot—is that homeowners say they have no place for something that big. However, after walking a two mile section of neighborhoods in north Arlington, we saw no more than 10% of the carts visible from the street.  That suggests to us that residents are finding places to park the carts. That may not be as true in neighborhoods with single rather than double car garages, or no garage at all.

“B” for Ease of use/handling This is a tricky one to score. We were tempted to pick a grade range (A to C) because, depending on the age and/or physical condition of the user, carts are better for some while the discontinued tubs are better suited to others.

“A” for Aesthetics How nice does the cart look? Well, there’s only so much that can be done with a trash container, but a lidded cart looks nicer than open tubs.

“A” for Cost to Recyclers  At less than a dollar per month in additional cost, the recycling carts are a good deal for those who see merit in recycling.

“F” for Cost to Those Who Don’t Recycle  Those who don’t recycle are being forced to pay almost a $1.00 per month more for an already costly service they didn’t ask for and don’t want.


If you don’t recycle, what are your options?

1)      Call Republic Waste Services at 817-317-2000 if you don’t want the recycling cart and want them to pick it up, but keep in mind you are paying, like  it or not, $52.00 for the cart.

2)      You can keep the recycling cart to use in other ways around your home or business. You are paying for it. Do what you want with it.


Recycling, the Modern Day Snake Oil

Recycling is a stealth tax. It accomplishes little beyond creating a revenue stream that is split between city government and their waste management partners.

Here are some facts.

The citizens of Arlington pay about $200 a ton to keep some trash out of the city landfill via recycling. At the same time the city/waste company actively solicits non-city dumping accounts, charging them far less than $200 to dump their trash in our landfill.  City officials want to extend the height capacity of the landfill by an additional 35 feet to further accommodate outside-of-city dumping contracts.

There is an unlimited supply of land suitable for new landfills.

Modern landfills are good neighbors. They can be located on otherwise unproductive land yet be located adjacent to water ways, parks and even upscale home developments.  Arlington’s landfill is a prime example with River Legacy Park and the Trinity River just to the south and the Viridian development just across Collins Street on the east.

More than half the material (by weight) that is collected through curbside recycling ends up in the landfill anyway. No one will pay anything for glass, for example.

Nothing that is being recycled is in short supply. There are plenty of tree farms for new paper, and there is plenty of petroleum for plastic. Aluminum is the third most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, and we all know where glass comes from—sand, something we’ll never run out of.

The above is why making things out of recycled materials is a good bit more expensive than using raw materials.

With the above in mind, recycling should be an option reserved for those who imagine they are saving the Earth.

One such avid recycler told us, “I don’t care how much I pay for recycling. I want it.”

Double the recycling fee and make the service option.  Then the half of residents who love recycling can pay for it, while the other half won’t be forced to drink snake oil.

3 Responses to Phil the Recycling Cart Has Arrived. Here’s How We Grade Him.

  1. flodornan

    July 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I live in a townhouse which has no driveway to set “Phil” for pickups. We have vehicles parked along the edges of the street and “Phil” ends up sitting in the street for pickup. Not a pretty sight to see these “monsters” sitting all along the street… and we don’t get pickup until about 2;30PM. I find “Phil” difficult to roll as I am somewhat elderly but an ardent recycler.

  2. rawrunner

    June 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Another great article Mr. Saunders. Not sure I agree with the “A” for Aesthetics, give it about six months and grade again.

    I still do not understand why anyone with half a brain would actually vote for any of the six that passed this (Capehart, Shepard, Bennett, Wilemon, Glaspie, and Cluck). They represented the company and not the citizens.

  3. dkilly

    June 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    You about covered it all Buddy, BUT … the addition of wheeled recycle carts “adds not a lick value to the existing recycle program for Arlington’s citizen/taxpayer.”

    The program adds an additional $10 million dollars over the next 10 years … and the citizen gets NOTHING for those extra wasted dollars. And guest what … many more millions of wasted recurring dollars will be consumed after the initial 10 years

    This program is a perfect example of what government does best … waste every taxpayer dollar it can in the name of feel-good and keeping their job.

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