Fort Worth launches program analyzing residents' trash

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by LAUREN ZAKALIK

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaalauren

WFAA

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 10:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 20 at 10:48 PM

FORT WORTH -- Every Thursday evening, James Moseley rolls out his trash bins to be picked up the next day.

It's a routine that might be anything but routine Friday morning.

"I don’t really know what to say about it," Moseley said.

He's just learned his garbage might be selected at random Friday to be picked through and analyzed by the city of Fort Worth.

The analysis came about because $13 million in recyclable items a year are ending up at the dump, according to Kim Mote, assistant director of code compliance for the city of Fort Worth. But the city thinks it has a solution.

"What we’re doing is going out and getting carts from 400 households throughout the city -- garbage and recycling," Mote said.

And in a tent at the landfill, consultants are then analyzing what's in those bins.

"We try to understand what their behavior is, why they chose the brown garbage cart versus the blue recycling cart to throw away a plastic water bottle," Mote said.

They'll then try to interview each household about its behavior.

If this is all a surprise to you, that was the point.

"What we’re trying to prevent [by beginning the program as a surprise] is changing their behavior before the cart’s put out," Mote said.

The fact the city didn't let people know ahead of time is rubbish to Moseley.

"We should’ve been advised beforehand, I think," he said.

Some we spoke to Thursday called the study an invasion of privacy.

Mote points out many people handle your trash regardless, and the pushback has been minimal.

"We've gotten four people - out of the city of Fort Worth - that have called us and said we don’t want to participate," Mote said, adding none of those people were selected anyway.

According to the city, it's a project costing taxpayers $37,500, but saving you much more down the road.

The trash collection began Monday and finishes Friday. The city says once it has the information gathered, it will work to re-educate the public on how to recycle.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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