Tega Cay, it seems, can teach the rest of York County something about recycling.
Since Tega Cay adopted a new method of collecting recyclables in November, about 75 percent of customers participate in the program. That compares with a national average of about 32 percent.
During December through February, 180 tons of recyclables were collected in Tega Cay. Fort Mill, which has roughly the same number of customers, collected only 85 tons during the same period.
The reason seems apparent: Tega Cay makes it easy. Residents are given one 96-gallon container to hold all their recyclables. The company contracted to collect the recyclables comes by every other Friday, picks up the bins with an automated arm and dumps the contents into the truck. They are sorted later at a facility in Charlotte; there is no sorting at curbside.
The method used by other communities, including Rock Hill, uses smaller containers, with contents collected weekly and sorted on the spot.
While the efficiency of both methods may be similar, the biweekly collection with bigger bins appears to be easier for customers, if the participation rate is any indication. Switching recycling programs no doubt would be difficult and expensive for communities already committed to weekly collections.
But if the opportunity arises in the future, local officials might want to see how this system worked out for Tega Cay over the long run and consider making the switch.
Tega Cay seems to have found a system that encourages residents to recycle.