Published DateLACONIA — Following the Wednesday night decision of the City Council to introduce a mandatory recycling program for a trial period of six months beginning on July 1, City Manager Scott Myers yesterday outlined the steps required to implement it.
With mandatory recycling, trash placed at the curbside would not be collected unless accompanied by a recycling container. In addition, to provide an incentive to recycle, the number of trash containers will be limited. Last year, the council adopted an ordinance reducing the number of 30- gallon containers emptied at single family homes and multi-family dwellings from five to two per household and at commercial buildings from 10 to seven.
Myers said that he will use the tonnage of trash removed from the waste stream by increased recycling to measure the success of the program.
In preparing the 2013-2014 city budget he projected a reduction of $219,523 in the cost of collecting, transporting and disposing of trash, which represents removing 3,924 tons from the waste stream by recycling. He described his projection as "conservative."
To meet the target, the mandatory recycling would have to reduce the waste stream by 1,962 tons between July and December, when Myers anticipated the volume of trash would exceed that of the first half of the year.
Myers said that the municipal solid waste ordinance must be amended to include the new procedure for curbside collection of trash and recyclables. The ordinance, he said, should prescribe an appropriate or minimal amount of recyclables required to qualify for trash collection in order to provide an effective incentive to recycle. At the same time, it must specify how much trash will be collected at the curb.
The original proposal suggesting limiting single family homes to one 64-gallon container and and multi-family dwellings and commercial establishments to seven of the same size, which exceeds the limits set by the current ordinance.
In addition to providing residents information about the operation of the program, Myers said that a strategy for enforcing the ordinance must be developed in collaboration with Casella Waste Services. He said that "to begin with", recyclables would continue to be collected every other week, noting that weekly collection would add $45,000 to the annual collection cost of $130,000. It is not clear how the requirement to recycle will be enforced during those weeks when recyclables are not collected.
Myers said that once the rules are established, printed material explaining what must be done to comply with the program and addressing the most common scenarios would be prepared. When the program begins he suggested a city employee might follow the truck as it makes its rounds and distribute information to residents found out of compliance. He emphasized that while some responsibility for enforcement may fall to the crew on the truck, it would have the full support of city officials.
After the City Council found itself split evenly between a "pay-as-you throw" and a mandatory program, Mayor Mike Seymour invited the councilors to consider introducing mandatory recycling on a trial basis and when the councilors again reached a stalemate, he cast the deciding vote in favor of the pilot program.