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Aldermen continue pursuit of pilot recycling program

Aldermen hope a recycling program can be in place in Brookhaven by May, but they want to have a plan in place to ensure recycling succeeds.

     Waste Management has offered a free recycling pilot program to the city to run from four to six months, and Mayor Les Bumgarner tasked a committee of aldermen to study the program.

     Specifics remain undetermined, but current plans call for two large recycling bins to be placed at public places in town. Residents could take recyclable material to the bins, and Waste Management would empty the bins once they fill up.

     Paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic could all go into the bins without being separated. Glass would be accepted under the proposed program.

     Recycling committee chairman Ward Six Alderman David Phillips wants to begin the pilot program May 1.

     “We need to strike while there is interest,” said Phillips, who has been working with fellow aldermen and community volunteers to create an education plan.

     Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes, also on the committee, told the board Tuesday night educating the community will be vital to the success of a recycling program.

     “This needs to be a city and an community project,” Estes said.

     Phillips is hopeful the community interest is there.

     “I’ve had more people comment on this than anything else the city is doing,” Phillips said.

     The city program will target residential areas first and aim for a 15 percent diversion of the city’s garbage, according to Phillips and Estes.

     Waste Management originally wanted to give the city relatively small containers that would be located throughout the city and transported to a central location.

     However, Phillips is in talks to obtain two large containers comparable to a Dumpster in size.

     Waste Management can provide one of those for free. The city will probably have to pay for the other one, Phillips said, and he is waiting on a quote.

     The city’s budget includes $5,000 to pursue recycling. Phillips suggested that money could go toward advertising and other costs associated with the pilot program.

     The committee has identified a number of locations where the two bins could be placed, including the three fire station precincts and Alexander Jr. High.

     Phillips said the value of the fire stations is that they are manned around the clock and could monitor the bins.

     Phillips said a recycling program gives the city an opportunity to be a leader in the area.

     “This committee believes it is time to reduce, reuse and recycle and be better stewards of our environment,” Phillips said.