Recycling effort has benefits for city, residents

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recycling has come to Brookhaven, and city officials are working to spread the word about the program and its benefits.

     The program officially gets under way Aug. 1, but recycling bins arrived Friday and are available for use. The bins are located at Central Fire Station on Brookhaven Street and Fire Station No. 2 on Willard Street.

     The program is for residential use only.

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     Recyclable materials that will be accepted include plastics, such as beverage bottles and milk jugs; office paper, newspapers, magazines and cardboard; and metal, including aluminum and steel cans.

     Glass items will not be accepted.

     Also, any containers placed in the bins need to be emptied first and drop-offs can only be made during daylight hours.

     In addition to environmental benefits, the program’s goal is to help reduce the amount of city garbage that must be taken to a landfill for disposal. Achieving that goal could have some financial benefits for the city as well.

     The city currently pays Waste Management approximately $30 per ton for waste removal, for a total cost of about $765,000 annually, officials said. So sending less waste to the landfill could wind up reducing the city’s expenses.

     Whether recycling will actually reduce the amount residents pay for garbage disposal is not known. But recycling can help prevent fee increases from being any more than they have to be in the future.

     City officials have been told that a 10 percent participation rate by citizens is likely. Leaders for hopeful for stronger initial participation that will go even higher as the program takes hold in the city.

     “We are excited about Brookhaven joining other progressive communities that recycle,” Mayor Les Bumgarner said in a letter to chamber of commerce members last week. “It is our belief this will add to the many great things that are going on in our community.”

      Education and continued participation will be key in the recycling program’s success. And that success will lead to environmental, financial and community appearance benefits in the long term.