When I moved into my first apartment in the City of Binghamton in the fall of 2010, I was surprised to learn that I couldn't just put my trash in a regular trash bag and plop it out to the curb.

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I actually tried doing just that only to get a note letting me know that in order for my trash to be picked up at the curb, I had to place it inside a blue City of Binghamton trash bag. It was the first I'd heard of such a thing.

When I asked people where to get the blue trash bags, they told me to go to customer service at any local grocery store. "Wow, these blue trash bags must be a hot commodity," I thought.

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Whether you're new to the City of Binghamton or just curious why City residents can only put out their garbage in blue city-approved bags, the answer is pretty simple.

The City of Binghamton implemented the blue bag policy in 1991 in an attempt to get residents to embrace better recycling as well as to cut down on waste.

BU Pipe Dream explains that weekly 170 or so tons of trash collected in Binghamton has to be taken to the Broome County Landfill where the City is required to pay a tipping fee of $45 per ton of trash.

Before the implementation of the blue trash bags, property taxes covered the tipping fee however, when the blue bags were introduced, property owners no longer had to cover the expense and instead, each individual was charged for the amount of trash they actually produced through the sale of the blue City garbage bags.

In February of 2019, when Mayor Kraham was working as the executive assistant to the mayor of Binghamton, he told BU Pipe Dream, “Taxpayers actually subsidize the cost. The sale of bags is budgeted revenue at $1.05 million, as part of a $3.7 million budget.

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In January, Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham announced the launch of a pilot program that would make the blue City trash bags available to be purchased in bulk online and delivered by Amazon for those who can't leave home easily. Through this program City residents can buy 20 large City bags for $46.75 through Amazon with free delivery.

Blue City trash bags can also be purchased on the second floor of the Binghamton City Hall as well as at most grocery stores and retail pharmacies - although you may have to ask for them at the register or customer service counter.

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