Orange County has delivered more than 18,000 new blue recycling carts to single-family households in Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, and Orange County residents seem to be adjusting well to the new system.

But there are still a few minor kinks that can be easily worked out.

“Orange County Solid Waste has completed the distribution of over 18,000 carts in Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough for single-family recycling,” said Orange County Solid Waste Planner Blair Pollock. “They’re now all in use. We’re completing the third week of collection with the carts. And by and large, people seem to be happy. But there’s still a few glitches in the system,” said Orange County Solid Waste Planner Blair Pollock.

There are a few things that folks who are new to curbside recycling should know.

Carts should be placed with the cart lid facing the street. That will ensure that the lid opens right into the truck when the robot arm lifts the cart off the ground.

Pollock added that the cart wheels should be flush against the curb, and that carts need to be at least three feet away from possible obstructions, such as telephone poles, fire hydrants, and trees.

Pollock said that even though some people have yet to catch on to all the steps of modern recycling, workers are managing to make all of their pickups, while striving for more efficiency.

“We’re trying to encourage all those things so that more of the collection can be automated, and therefore, done more quickly and more efficiently,” said Pollock. “It keeps the cost down, and frankly, it also reduces worker injury.”

The newer automated system is a welcome change for workers making the pickups. In the old days, one person drove the truck, while another got out as many as 500 times per shift, to lift between one and three heavy bins at each stop.

Pollock said that if Orange County residents can remember to adhere to all of the recycling steps he mentioned, they’ll be helping some grateful public employees avoid unnecessary manual labor.

He added that if you have any questions about curbside recycling, you can call the Orange County Solid Waste Department at 919-968-2788; or send an email to