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Caught red-handed with recyclables and nowhere to pitch them? Fret no more, Sylva

Recycling receptacles are coming to downtown Sylva soon, at last giving shoppers and strollers a green option for pitching their bottles, cans, cups and last week’s copy of The Smoky Mountain News.


Four bins will be placed at high-traffic spots — two on Main Street, one on Mill Street and one at Bridge Park. The town got an $8,000 waste reduction grant from the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources to help buy the bins and will pitch in another $4,000 of its own money.

Downtown Sylva now lacks public recycling bins, except for one at Bridge Park. But that one is regularly misused for trash — even though the small hole is clearly marked for recycling only, according to Dan Schaeffer, the town’s public works director.

If trash is mixed in, it essentially means the whole load goes to the landfill.

“If it’s mixed, my guys are not going to dig through it. There could be needles or other dangerous things,” Schaeffer said.

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The new recycling bins include a color-coded lid with a slot for two different types of recyclables and trash in the center. Each of the new bins carries a price tag of $2,800 and weighs more than 500 pounds. They have the capacity for 32 gallons of trash, 20 gallons of newspapers and paper and 20 gallons of bottles and cans. The bins will be green, hopefully fitting in with the Main Street motif, matching the popular metal benches.

The new bins will add Sylva to a growing list of Western North Carolina towns to embrace downtown recycling receptacles. Waynesville added several recycling receptacles around downtown in 2011.

Schaeffer will be watching to see how well the bins are used and may tweak their locations to maximize convenience.

“I’m going to try this and see how people do,” Schaeffer said.

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