Friday, September 11, 2015

Recycling Committee Anticipates Big Changes

Fairhope, Al.

Anderson at left, Linder without hair

At its last meeting, the city's recycling committee expressed guarded optimism the city council would follow-though and appropriate necessary funds to shift to a "single stream" model sometime next year; a sub committee had been working on the proposal for almost 3 years (Anna Miller, Elizabeth Tonsmeire, Dale Linder)..

As envisioned, residents would be issued a blue container exactly like their green garbage ones now -- where all recyclable would be mixed in together (paper, metals, plastics, glass? -- et al.)

After a financial comparison, the committee decided the simpler method would increase participation considerably thereby reducing "tipping fees" charged the city at the county's landfill ($30/ton) where all garbage is currently taken.

Besides the blue container, other up-front costs for the switch could be new equipment, such as another standard  truck or a specialized recycling one; funding will have to be included in next year's budget by the council (FY 2016 begins Oct. 1st).

Eventually it may be possible to reduce the frequency of curbside pick up from 3 times to only once-weekly, potentially a significant savings for the city  in labor, costs fuel, etc..

(Referring to current peculiar practice of overnight garbage pickup in quiet residential neighborhoods, an observer commented "that would be nice, it would only wake me up once a week then ,,. ,"

Simpson in white

Fairhope High science teacher Mary Simpson told the committee that because recycling is being phased-out  at the school, she would like to start a student recycling club to help the city take over the service.

Simpson said she also teaches an environmental class and has "eighteen strong students" there who can help as well; chairman Nancy Anderson quickly accepted the offer.


Recycling supervisor Dale Linder said he expects competitive bids to be sought for a company to receive the mixed recyclables from the city. Paper products and metals are are the most valuable, plastics the least.

Glass may prove problematic though, because  no company currently accepts it in the "mix" without an additional  fee: it may have to be handled entirely separately, possibly with a self service-drop off instead of curbside pickup.

(The city currently ships glass by truck to a facility in Atlanta; about three truck loads per quarter costing $400/load).


In his state of the city address earlier this year, the mayor supported the single stream model, but is including some other options in his budget proposals to the council --  including "dual stream" and having a "privatizing" the service., as in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

He and councilman Boone traveled to Arizona earlier this year to observe various options used there.

The city council, will have to decide (majority vote) by the end of the month, based on the mayor's budget proposal.

Linder: "We'll just have to wait ... see what they do."

(Publisher's Note: A number of citizens have commented to the Times privately about this city council's propensity for only "studying problems over and over again" and taking no decisive action.)


Anonymous said...

The city council does like to pay for studies but the voters keep electing them.

At the end of the day it is the citizens who are responsible for putting their recycling into a bin or a can or whatever and taking it to the end of their driveway (probably less than 50 steps for most people).

The problem in Fairhope and specifically with recycling is pure laziness and apathy. If the committee can find a way to solve that problem I'm all ears.

Anonymous said...

Uh, that would be easy to do. A no brainer. Just give those who recyle a dscount on their garbag fees. Our Politicians here are not known for their big brains though ..

Anonymous said...

Oh Yes, I agree I had lazy neighbors in Fairfield place, their garbage can would tip over and all of their garbage would blow in my yard. It was indeed theirs because several times it was boxes with their name on it . They knew it as it happened a lot but did not care. When our house was for sell I remember chasing garbage bags of garbage just so we could show our house. LAZY PEOPLE!!!! It is sad that you have to baby people!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the rant, but my point is , you simply can't fix lazy people and that is what is all boils down to