Most people think that the only thing plastic milk jugs are good for is holding milk. Falls Church residents know better.
Last Friday at the community center, the city inaugurated its new curbside recycling program. Yesterday was the first pickup day for recyclable newspapers, glass and plastic containers and aluminum cans collected by Falls Church residents.
"We're trying to involve as many people as possible to get as many materials as possible out of the waste stream," said Annette Mills, the city's recycling coordinator. "Those materials will be diverted from the incinerator and the landfill and reused."
As part of last week's festivities, Waste Management Inc., the company responsible for picking up and hauling the city's recyclable materials, presented Falls Church with a park bench constructed from 100 percent recycled plastic milk jugs. The jugs were converted into plastic lumber, a material that can be sawed and drilled like regular wood.
The recycling celebration also featured student displays and a presentation, keynote speaker Lt. Gov. Donald S. Beyer Jr. and "Recycle Pete," who encouraged children to get involved in recycling.
The city decided to expand its recycling effort after Fairfax County increased its landfill charges from $24 a ton to $43 a ton last July. Money generated from the sale of recyclable materials will help fund the recycling program.
Recycling collection from Falls Church's approximately 2,800 homes will cost the city $2.16 a month per household, Mills said.
The program also will help the city meet the state-mandated recycling goals of 10 percent by 1991, 15 percent by 1993 and 25 percent by 1995.
Last month, Falls Church residents who receive regular trash service were given 18-gallon recycling receptacles by the city. Residents should deposit all recyclable materials in the bin. Pickups will be sorted by collectors at curbside. Materials will be collected every Wednesday.
"This system is as easy as possible to maximize the city's recycling," Mills said.
For every 100 tons of recyclable material Falls Church collects, Waste Management intends to award the city an additional park bench.