One day in early January, the streets in my northeastern ’hood sprouted hundreds of bright blue trash carts, eerily reminiscent of something from The Day of the Triffids but actually the handiwork of the city’s aggressive recycling program. In their first quarter of use, the blue carts pushed Dallas’ monthly residential recycling volume to almost 2,000 tons, more than double the same period a year ago, generating more than $261,000 in revenues. More than 65,000 blue carts had been requested by March 30, representing about 28 percent of the city’s sanitation accounts. In 2006, by contrast, recycling accounted for only 9 percent of sanitation services. (Fifty percent by 2011 is the goal.) Sanitation services director Mary Nix says the blue cart program “is precisely where we hoped it would be.” A report released by Nix’s staff shows annual landfill savings equivalent to two months supply of trash, financial savings in garbage service of about $2 million by the third year of the program. Besides, the blue carts are the new status symbol for the city’s green elite.