Old Norwalk recycling bins ignored by City Carting

Norwalk City Carting recycling takeover 070113 072
City Carting workers drive past an old-style Norwalk recycling bin Monday.
Norwalk City Carting recycling takeover 070113 077
City Carting workers wheel a new Norwalk recycling bin to their truck Monday.

NORWALK, Conn. – It’s clear: Many Norwalk residents did not get the memo – or the Code Red call.

The Spring Hill neighborhood featured many old-style recycling bins still full of discarded materials late Monday afternoon in spite of numerous attempts on the part of the city to notify Norwalkers of the change to single-stream recycling.

The switch began Monday. Mayor Richard Moccia used the Notify Norwalk system, also called Code Red, on June 7 to spread the news about the big blue recycling bins that were to begin being delivered the following Monday. There have been public service announcements. Each new bin featured a bright orange sticker, informing recipients in both English and Spanish not to use them until July 1.

Many people got it. Most, even. Far from everyone.

A non-scientific survey of the Spring Hill neighborhood – a half hour drive – found the old-style bins out at the curb in front of at least 42 homes, still full of plastic bottles and other items. There were three on Woodbury Avenue, five on Rhondonalia Park, six on Magnolia Avenue, three on Girard Street, five on Leuvine Street between Loomis and Girard, three on Fairview – you get the picture.

To clarify – there were more-old style bins than that. If there were two or three at the same location, NancyOnNorwalk counted it as one. If the bin appeared to be empty, it was not counted.

At 4:42 p.m., a City Carting truck made its way up Stuart Avenue, driving past an old-style bin. Although NancyOnNorwalk commenter Oldtimer had supposed that the trucks might have mechanical arms to pick up the new bins, two men did all the work manually.

It doesn’t look like the city will have any better luck Tuesday in Rowayton and Brookside. At about 9 p.m. Monday there were old-style bins out for pickup at 13 homes on Highland Avenue. There were three old-style bins on Devil’s Garden Road, one on Michael Avenue and one on Witch Lane.

One Wilson Avenue resident had an old-style bin sitting on top of a new bin.

Go figure.

Common Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E), chairman of the Department of Public Works Committee, said the change has been on the city’s website for months.

“All the promotional information says that the old bins will not be collected,” he said in an email. “… We are on single stream, not whatever people want to do. I drove around Rowayton and found two. Some people need to learn through experience.”


13 responses to “Old Norwalk recycling bins ignored by City Carting”

  1. Tim T

    Being the new containers are still being emptied manually and not by machine they could have very easily dumped the old bins. That would just be good customer service , but why would we expect that from anything this administration is involved in.
    As far as Common Councilman David McCarthy comment “We are on single stream, not whatever people want to do. I drove around Rowayton and found two. Some people need to learn through experience.” This just is proves what I said about the lack of customer service from the current administration and the old boys club.

  2. Ken P Jr

    Id tend to agree with Tim. They should have picked them up anyway, its what WE are paying them for. To go from years and years of one way to another & not be considerate is absurd. Its not like they dont know what the bins are. Also its totally wrong to include English and Spanish instructions ignoreing the dozens of other ethnicities in Norwalk. We should stop this silliness & just do everything in English since we cant do it for everyone. I wonder if any Polish, Russian, Italian, Greek or whatever immigrants who cant read English are wondering why their recycling wasnt picked up?

  3. David McCarthy

    This was an easy one. I went down Highland, and virtually all of the houses south of Witch had just blue bins out. It didn’t take long to conclude that this end of Highland had been skipped for delivery of Toters. That will be fixed. 33,000 households, there are bound to be a few missed.

    The rest of the Tuesday pick up area seems to be at 99.5% toters. The only issue beyond that is that there may be people who need a second toter, because of high volume of recyclables…BRAVO.

  4. Adam Blank

    Why am I not surprised that the old bins are not being picked up, yet many in my neighborhood (myself included), haven’t even received the new big blue bins yet. Time for a new administration.

  5. C. Greene

    Just give City Hall Customer Service a call and they will deliver a toter quickly. I just had to call to receive mine after they skipped my house altogether but delievered two to an uninhabited house down the street 🙂

  6. NorwalkVoter

    Interesting to see your photos of manual pick-up of the new toters. Why is this more efficient? In other parts of the country, I have seen the containers picked up by the truck, without the help of any person – thus the reason for having your container facing out… hello! Where is the cost savings in this process? I don’t get it. Single-stream makes sense but see no savings in having staff out there picking up toters to unload.

  7. David McCarthy

    Adam, I’m very curious as to how your failure to report an oversight should lead people to conclude there should be a new administration? Unless you’re perhaps joking? CS is 203-854-3200.

    NorwalkVoter, In time as the toters become a part of the routine, they will be picked up by the truck’s arm, where that is possible. For now, City Carting is able to pick them up, however they see fit, as this expense is borne by them, not the city.

  8. Ergo

    If you look at the second photo, you can see where the new blue bin is hooked onto the back of the truck (those two orange/yellow pieces) from where it gets dumped into the back of the truck. So all they have to do is drag it from the end of your driveway to the back of the truck. No more sorting. Definitely more efficient.

    People WANT to complain about something. Maybe they forgot to drop your bin off. No big deal, they gave you the number to call to report the issue. Nothing is 100% foolproof.

    I also thinks it’s crazy to expect them to pick up recycling in the old bins. It has been made clear that as of July 1 nothing in the old bins will be picked up. This is no surprise. By not emptying the old ones that are filled this week it forces people to call and figure out that yes, they do need the new bins, or that they need a bin and weren’t given one in error.

    Again. No. Big. Deal.

  9. Fred Sanford

    Simple solution. Pick up the entire bin, contents and all, and heave it into the truck. Now how hard would that be? The bin is plastic after-all and city property if I am not mistaken. You think City would try to make up for previous PR screw-ups and keep their bosses (Norwalk Taxpayers) happy even if they don’t always ask for the right things or exactly how they want things done. City can hold us to the letter of the law on their contract all they want or they can bite the bullet once in awhile and do what is right and make everyone happy. We don’t have to renew their contract either. Businesses come and go all the time. City is no different.

  10. Diane C2

    norwalk “customer service” = oxymoron. Just more of the old “good enough” syndrome

  11. RKeyes


    Our street in Silvermine did not get the new containers. I called customer service and told them and the rep said I would have it by Friday (my pickup date). But I would think that since we are transitioning that they would pick up the old bins the first or second time around. Did some of these homes not get the new containers? If I don’t get my new container are they not going to pickup my recyclables?

  12. Ergo

    Again, I will say it, they gave us plenty of notice. The new bins are massive, if you didn’t get a new bin for whatever reason, call and let them know. Mistakes happen. Then when you get your bin, just throw the other stuff in there. Trust me, there is enough room in there. Problem solved.

    I have to sit back and shake my head sometimes at the stuff people will get up in arms about.

    This is the first week. Anyone who has been through any sort of transition regardless of the nature of the transition (work related, moving to a new house, etc.) knows there are hiccups along the way. No one is out to get you, and we had plenty of notice. It will all work out in the end.


  13. Dawn

    Since the city no longer be picking up the “old style” blue bins, what are we suppose to do with the overfill?
    Will a smaller styled garbage can suffice?

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