Washington Co. officials discuss possible implementation of curbside recycling

Posted at 10:11 PM, Feb 10, 2015

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah -Washington county residents recycled over 1,700 tons of material in 2014.

It’s a number that would grow if the county implemented a curbside pickup, but some residents say it’s not worth the cost.

Recycling has grown 75 percent since the county started the “binnies” program in 2008. Under current collection yellow sorting bins are placed at various locations throughout the county and residents bring their recycling to those bins.

Monday the Washington County Solid Waste Board met to discuss two different proposals for curbside collection.

“We have not selected any of those companies yet to move forward,” said Solid Waste District manager Neil Schwendiman. “We want to get more information back from the cities, which type of program they’d like to pursue.”

Schwendiman said it’s going to take a lot of discussion, because the seven urban cities need to buy into the new program.

Currently, collection costs are factored into trash collection. Under a curbside program, residents could end up paying between $3-4 per month, based on participation of between 50 and 60 percent.

There’s also an option where residents could opt-out of the program, but that may mean residents who sign up are paying more.

“We have to get all of the cities on board to join into this program to make it most efficient and effective,” Schwendiman said.

Schwendiman said the county wants to implement something to begin conserving space at the county landfill.

Currently, Schwendiman said, the landfill is in no threat of reaching its limit, but they want to prolong the life as long as possible.

Residents have expressed concern over a curbside program, saying they worry there’s not enough interest, or recyclable waste to support the program.

“I might not be cost effective,” said Washington County resident Tom Johnson. “There might not be that much in each of the bins and it’s not going to save money for people overall.”

But others argue a collection program would be worth the cost, even if it’s just to get more people involved.

“Some people probably aren’t willing to go this extra step to bring it somewhere,” said St George resident Bob Mahaffey. “So it’ll be acceptable to a lot more people, I think.”

The solid waste board will meet again in March to discuss which options the cities are most interested in. Shwendiman said they hope to have a program in place this year.