Initial mandatory recycling results encouraging but not spectacular

LACONIA — The volume of recyclables collected at the curbside increased during the first week of the mandatory recycling program, but fell short of 30-percent of the solid waste stream, which is among the targets set for the program.
On the five routes, 43.18 tons of recyclables were collected during the week of July 1 compared to 36.05 tons during the week of June 17, an increase of 7.13 tons or nearly 20-percent. Recycling also increased as a portion of the entire solid waste stream. Recycling tonnage represented 20.3-percent of the 211.04 tons of solid waste collected during the two week period (June 24 to July 5) compared to 16.8-percent during the prior period (June 10 to June 21).
However, the 43.18 tons of recyclables was 20.13 tons less than the 63.30 tons required to reach 30-percent of the entire solid waste stream.
Speaking to the City Council last night City Manager Scott Myers said "I'm encouraged and the staff is encouraged." He noted that of the 1,000 64-gallon recycling toters purchased by the city and offered to residents at a discounted price of $25, 836 have been sold, almost half of them in the past month. The Department of Public Works has distributed all of its complimentary 18-gallon recycling bins and ordered 1,000 more, some of which should be delivered this week. At the same time, he noted that residents continue to arrive at City Hall apparently unaware of the mandatory recycling program and the changes in the curbside collection of trash.
Meanwhile, Clay Dunn, a landlord who rents 40 apartments, asked the councilors "do you realize that it's not going to work? It's not even close to working." He said that to succeed recyclables should be collected every week, not every other week, and the 18-gallons bins must be replaced with larger recycling containers. When Dunn indicated that he was not familiar with the operation of the program he was urged to contact Ann Saltmarsh at the Department of Public Works.