In the lead-up to the rebirth of curbside recycling, city officials are spreading the word to the community and urging participation in the free, single-stream collection process.
The City Council last month approved entering into a state grant program that would pay half of the $150,000 cost of purchasing 3,000 96-gallon containers. The other $75,000 will come from the city. City officials noted their confidence in receiving the grant, setting a start date for curbside recycling of March 12.
Public works director Jeff Vreugdenhil said a wealth of information has been distributed to city water residents informing them about curbside recycling, and that push is slated to continue. The packets being handed out include an enclosed calendar, accompanied by a great deal of other pertinent facts about the city’s revived recycling program.
“They’ll see that (calendar) multiple times throughout those flyers,” said Vreugdenhil. “We want people to keep and retain those calendars. We tried to make it as diversified as possible without losing the recycling impetus.”
On the calendars (see related graphic), blue highlighted portions depict Tuesday through Friday on recycling collection weeks for the year of 2013. Containers will be emptied every other week on the resident’s normal trash collection day. During those weeks, city officials were able to construct the calendar so there are only two holidays that conflict with collections. Those holidays are shown with red circles.
“We only have two holidays in the recycle schedule, but we also include the sanitation schedule. Depending on cost, I’d love to have this as a refigerator magnet, something people would keep so that we don’t have to tag cans,” Vreugdenhil said. “We will put items like this on the back of water bills, on public access television, city-wide callout, because it’s very costly to print and hang things onto cans 10 days out of the year.”
The initial cost to implement curbside would be almost completely offset by the discontinuation of the current contract with Onslow Container Service, which the city pays $55,000 annually for rental and hauling off of the 30 yard roll-off containers at all four convenience sites.
With the start of curbside recycling, those sites will go away, with the exception of the 200 W. John St. site, which the city will operate and service.
There was close to 200 tons of recycling collected at the city’s four convenience sites from April 2011 to April 2012. Vreugdenhil said he wants to see at least 300 tons collected from curbs citywide, hopefully more. It is hoped by city officials that a single stream collection at residences will promote more participation due to ease of use, as well as optimize city revenue for recyclables.
The convenience sites often would consist of bagged items and trash, which cut into revenue on the back end once sorted.
“My goals are to increase our collection tonnage and to be more convenient for the citizens of Clinton,” said Vreugdenhil. “It is my hope that those who currently do not recycle will take advantage of the convenience of single stream curbside recycling.”
The curbside program will mean $26,000 in annual fuel and equipment costs, expected to be offset by $9,000 in revenue from the sale of a projected yearly collection of 300 tons at $30 per ton, bringing the total annual cost of the curbside program to $17,000. That is around $38,000 less than the price tag to operate convenience sites.
The city will deliver a 96-gallon blue rollout recyclables container — the black container for trash is the same size — to all single family and duplex occupants during the two weeks prior to March 12. Each cart will remain property of the delivery address and is electronically identified with a microchip to its delivery address.
With a great deal of thought and numbers-crunching already done, and Council’s blessing given, spreading the word about the program has been identified as a big key to its success locally.
Along with the distribution of the calendar, residents are also being told about the “do’s and dont’s” of city recycling, including which items can be collected and which cannot, as well as the environmental, ecological and fiscal benefits that come with participation.
“It’s very self-explanatory, very informative and has contact numbers,” said Vreugdenhil. “There’s not a whole lot missed with this particular way of doing the schedule.”
For more information about curbside recycling, call Clinton Public Works at 910-299-4905.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.