I’ve been e-mailing with Mary Nix of the City’s sanitation department this week. Here’s the final word on those shiny new blue recycling bins: If you don’t use a gray trash bin provided by the city, you cannot use your blue bin. The lack of a gray bin means that your alley is too narrow for the city’s trucks to get through without having to maneuver around those bins and potentially damage them. You can, however, continue to use blue bags that are picked up every week.

We’ll be clarifying more on how this mix-up happened (well, let’s see, Dallas bureaucracy was involved, so …) in our February issue, but until then know that Nix, who seems to be a nice woman who’s genuinely sorry this happened, is trying to find a solution that would allow all of Dallas to recycle with bins and hoping "to offer a couple of solutions later this year."

Finally, if you have a blue bin you can’t use, here’s what to do: Go ahead and put it out in your alley with your regular trash, and leave your recyclables in it. "It will take us more time to move through your alley with our truck, carefully hand-cart the materials to the truck hopper, and load the cart into a waiting pick-up truck for return to the dispatch yard," Nix says. But they’re gonna do it anyway.

Least they can do, I figure.

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