March 18, 2009
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE -- A citywide curbside recycling program is finally on its way in Starkville.
After months of discussion, the Starkville Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved a plan to collect curbside recycling from more than 6,000 homes throughout the city.
The city initially believed it could implement a curbside program by November, but Ward 3 Alderman P.C. "Mac" McLaurin on Tuesday said pickup potentially could begin "months earlier."
According to the plan, the Starkville Sanitation Department will pick up recyclables every two weeks from homes already receiving curbside garbage pickup.
At homes where garbage is picked up on Mondays and Thursdays, recyclables will be picked up on the first and third Wednesday of each month. At homes where garbage is picked up on Tuesdays and Fridays, the Sanitation Department will pick up recyclables on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.
Residents who want to participate in the program have to sign up with the city to receive special bags from the Sanitation Department, in which they will place their recyclables. The sign-up process also will allow the city to know which addresses will place recyclables at the curb, therefore giving the Sanitation Department a roadmap of locations to target, McLaurin said.
"Our goal is to make it as efficient gas-wise and time-wise as possible," McLaurin said this weekend while discussing the plan.
After making rounds on the city''s streets, the Sanitation Department will take the recyclables to Stan Shurden at Starkville Recycling, where the company will sort the materials. Because the Sanitation Department will use its existing trucks and personnel to pick up the city''s recyclables, residents won''t have to worry about a tax increase to help pay for the program, McLaurin said.
The city''s only initial expense will be the roughly 65,000 bags it will purchase for residents who want to participate, McLaurin said. The cost of the bags is still unknown.
As part of the recycling discussion Tuesday, the board also approved a motion to take bids or quotes from companies who supply the specialized bags for recycling. The bags aren''t quite as thick as traditional garbage bags, McLaurin said.
Additional expenses could come if the city opts to expand the curbside program, McLaurin warned, but a decision on that won''t be made until after the board sees how many people participate in the initial plan.
Although the curbside program has received widespread support in Starkville, city officials are the first to admit it isn''t perfect. One of the flaws, the board acknowledges, is the curbside recycling program will not be available to residents living in apartments, or other places where curbside garbage pickup is not implemented.
"This program obviously is not perfect, but I think it''s a big first step," said Ward 1 Alderman Sumner Davis, who was instrumental in devising the curbside program with McLaurin.
"It''s not perfect, but our goal was to create a curbside recycling program that would benefit the most people at the least expense, and I think we''re well on our way," McLaurin said.
Ward 5 Alderman Matt Cox described the proposal as "the right way to go" and said the interaction between the city and Starkville Recycling is an "excellent public-private partnership."
For a list of items accepted at Starkville Recycling, visit the company''s Web site at www.starkvillerecycling.com.