Attitudes about recycling appear to be changing

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, February 19, 2012

Attitudes about recycling could bechanging.

    After hearing a presentation on recycling recently during a smallgroup meeting, Brookhaven aldermen are contemplating a pilotrecycling program for the city.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

    Under the proposed free program, which has a number of details tobe worked out before it can be implemented, receptacles would beplaced at various points around the city for residents to drop offrecyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic andaluminum.

    Specific locations for the receptacles and how to secure the binsagainst trash being deposited in them were among undecided issuesmentioned at the recent gathering. City officials could discuss thepilot program during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

    Ward Six Alderman David Phillips sees the free pilot program as awalking start toward potentially having a curbside program up andrunning, although that could be several years down the road.

    Brookhaven leaders have ventured down the recycling road beforeunder the mayoral administration of Doug Sullivan. The efforteventually fizzled over participation, material separation andother issues.

    Phillips believes the city can learn from its past foray intorecycling and now implement a program that produces strongparticipation totals and cost savings for the city.

    Toward that end, Phillips and fellow recycling committee membersTerry Bates of Ward Two and Shirley Estes of Ward Four are workingto pull together the logistics – such as bin locations and pickuptimes – for implementing the pilot recycling program. Phillipshopes to have the program going by June at the latest.

    Also part of the equation will be a “publicity blitz” to educateand inform the general public about recycling and its importancefor the city and the environment. In addition to the initialinformation campaign prior to start-up, Phillips expects the publiceducation issue to be an ongoing necessity.

    The alderman said the city has set aside $5,000 to study recycling,and he would like to see some of that money used in the awarenesscampaign. Committee members plan to work with city department headsand employees in an effort to “lead by example” on recycling andwith community-minded individuals to promote recyclingbenefits.

    Responses to an online DAILY LEADER poll question this past weeksuggest residents now may be a little more receptive to recyclingreceptacles. More than 50 percent of respondents indicated supportfor the program. Another 30-plus percent were at least open to thepossibility, indicating their support would be dependent on anycosts associated with recycling.

    The 80 percent positive poll responses bode well for realizingPhillips’ recycling goals for the community.

    Phillips said the ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of garbagethat the city must pay to have taken to a landfill.

    October saw the city’s per-household garbage pick-up costs risefrom $12.10 to $12.59 and the per-ton disposal fee go up to morethan $40. Some of those costs were passed on to customers in theform of a 50-cent per month increase in the garbage pick-upfee.

    In the face of rising costs, Phillips believes the timing is rightto pursue recycling as a means of staunching some of the fundsflow. Plus, he said, recycling is just the right thing to do froman environmental standpoint.

    Those goals begin with the first recycling step.

    City leaders appear ready to take it. And they are hopeful thatcitizens will embrace recycling and follow their lead.