Recycling Can Advertising

by Dana Brueck

(Madison) - Some people might see a household trash cart on the curbs as just that, a giant garbage can. Others see an opportunity for advertisers.

Madison's recycling coordinator George Dreckmann says, "the recyclable items that the city collected in 2004 were sold for about $1.2 million."

Dreckmann says the city could make half a million dollars over five years by sprucing up its giant carts.

"There could be as many as five ads around the side of the cart and we would be concentrating those carts with ads on high traffic routes," Dreckmann says.

Dreckmann says this is the second time the city has considered the idea.

But, he says, "unlike previous proposal, I said the biggest thing is people would be volunteering."

And those who volunteer their bins for ads also would get to collect.

"People who volunteer would get a discount card supplied by the ad company that would involve discounts, special deals from people who advertise on their carts."

Ald. Paul Van Rooy from Madison's 18th District says he doubts anyone would want his can for ads because he does not live on a heavily traveled street, but he says he does not object to the idea.

Another Madison resident disagrees. Summer Mallow says "I think we're bombarded by a lot of ads already, but I think that if the effort went to recycling, such as being able to recycle more plastic, that would be great. But otherwise, I don't think it's the greatest idea."

But before anyone puts a lid on the plan, Dreckmann says it offers Madison a new source of revenue to offset the cost of the carts or go toward the city's general fund.

A committee is expected to take up the proposal on Thursday. Madison's automated recycling collection is scheduled to start this fall.

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