BULLHEAD CITY — Curb-side recycling program 2.0?
The Bullhead City Council on Tuesday devoted a joint work session with the Franchise Licensing Commission to overhauling the city’s recycling program.
One option would be to allow people not interested in doing it to opt out. City Manager Toby Cotter said there likely would be neighborhood meetings to inform residents about the program.
“It’ll be almost as if the program has to start over,” he said.
Educating the community is crucial, said Cotter and Matt Cross, general manager for Republic Services’ Bullhead City-area operation.
“With education, you’ll have some of the cleanest recycling around,” Cross told Bullhead City officials.
Cotter and Mayor Tom Brady recently were at a workshop about the topic in Las Vegas. They were among other local government officials from around the region.
It turns out that Bullhead City residents aren’t the only people who have trouble with recycling. Residents throughout the region are routinely mixing recyclable items with other things that contaminate large quantities of material, rendering it worthless.
Coupled with companies collecting it now charging haulers for leaving it — especially those in China — it’s crucial to ensure that material is viable.
Cotter and Brady watched how a large-scale processing center requires numerous employees to pull out copious amounts of recyclable materials turned into garbage because someone neglected to empty out a soda bottle, clean out a peanut butter jar or soiled diaper.
And the labor is only part of the problem.
“Contaminants can damage the machines,” according to Cross.
The food, liquid and human waste leaks out and contaminates numerous other recyclable items near it. Even some grease on a cardboard pizza box can ruin hauls that otherwise were acceptable, Cotter said.
Other government officials were willing to simply raise recycling fees “but that’s not the answer,” he stressed.
According to the proposal presented by Cross, another major change would be to charge $10 a month for curb-side pickup of recycling. Residents who opt in would pay a bit less for monthly trash pickup service: $14.99 instead of $15.16.
Trash would be picked up only once a week. A separate day of the week would be devoted to recycling pickups. That’s the current model used in Bullhead City.
“In our business, time is money,” Cross explained.
Making the program easier to follow also would be an improvement, such as accepting only a few types of materials at most, Cross said.