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Springfield to start recycling pilot program

POSTED: June 16, 2011 8:16 p.m.

Springfield is putting into a motion a recycling pilot program for approximately 100 homes.

City council members approved the program at their meeting Tuesday night, with the effort being directed at homes in the Ash Street, Laberta Circle and a portion of Early Street area. Recycling pickup would be done once every two weeks in those neighborhoods.

The single-stream recycling cans will be the same size as the regular garbage cans, said Russ Hightower of Waste Management.

The pilot program will last for two months.

“Nothing will change with garbage pickup,” said City Manager Brett Bennett.

Hightower said Waste Management doesn’t initiate recycling pilot programs usually, choosing to start them right away. Garden City has a recycling program to go along with its twice-a-week garbage pickup.

“It’s going great with Garden City,” he said. “I promise you, recycling is easy.”

Once residents place recyclable materials into the recycling can, items that ordinarily would have been placed into the regular garbage can, Hightower said they’ll find they may not need a second garbage can to accommodate their trash.

Bennett said homeowners in the targeted area will have letters sent to their homes. He also said they wanted a mix of homes, so they chose to include subdivisions in the pilot program.

Bennett also said he was skeptical of recycling’s benefits, until Waste Management invited him and others to take a look at the Superior landfill.

“You see it and just ask, ‘where does it stop?’” he said.

Hightower also discussed Waste Management’s “Think Green” rewards, which gives those who participate in recycling coupons and allows them to donate those savings to non-profit organizations.

“It’s just a different way of motivating people to recycle,” he said.

The average savings is about $130 a year, Hightower noted.

Council members said they have gotten a push from citizens to start a recycling program and believe it will go over well.

“They’re excited about it,” council member Kenny Usher said. “There’s a lot of good will to do this.”

Hightower said his company does some electronics recycling and recycling of hazardous household items, including paint and pesticides, though those are done through separate recycling drives. The recycling of hazardous household materials is the most expensive of the non-traditional waste collections, he said.

But the cost for Springfield’s single-stream recycling — for items such as paper, glass and aluminum — was just the right price for city council.

“It doesn’t cost us a dime,” Bennett said.

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