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Springfield pushing ahead on citywide recycling

POSTED: December 8, 2011 5:33 p.m.

The city of Springfield hopes to take its recycling program citywide in the next few months.

Springfield City Council held two public hearings on the recycling program, along with other issues on Tuesday, to get more feedback on the pilot initiative. The recycling program has been well received, according to city officials, winning over skeptics on the council and in the city.

“I’m very happy with it,” said Springfield resident Murray Kight. “It’s a very good program. I feel it’s the right thing to do. I’m glad y’all did the pilot program, and I hope it continues.”

Replied City Manager Brett Bennett: “I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t.”

The recycling was single-stream, meaning all recyclable items, such as paper, glass, cardboard and plastic bottles, went into one container.

“I’d say 70 to 75 percent of my trash was recyclable,” Kight said.

Bennett said Waste Management predicted that 65 percent to 70 percent of household trash could be recycled.

The pilot program, which targeted about 100 homes in the Ash Street, Laberta Circle and Early Street area, lasted about two months. With the recycling containers, which are distinguished by their yellow tops, the city could reduce its regular trash pickup to once a week. Currently, garbage is picked up twice a week.

“Waste Management was surprised when they came to bid and saw we had twice a week pickup,” Bennett said.

Bennett said it could be late February or early March before the city and Waste Management are ready to take the program citywide. Recycling will be picked up once every two weeks.

“It’ll take a few months,” he said. “It won’t cost the residents any more money.”

Council members also are working on revising the city charter to clarify the city manager’s position and duties. Ordinances establishing the position and its responsibilities have been on the books, but council members also will amend the city charter to reflect those ordinances.

The revised charter will be sent to state Rep. Jon Burns to introduce as legislation before the General Assembly during its upcoming session for approval.

Under the charter, the city maanger shall act as Springfield’s chief executive and administrative officer. The city manager will be responsible to the city council for the administration of all city affairs placed in the city manager’s charge by an ordinance outlining the city manager’s powers and duties.

The city charter also outlines the powers and duties of the mayor and of the mayor pro tem.

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