The numbers are in — Grantsville residents will have curbside recycling starting July 1.
More than 70 percent of citizens responded “yes” to the proposed program during an “opt-out” period this spring. In all, only 768 households told the city they didn’t want curbside recycling.
Grantsville City Mayor Brent Marshall said the 71 percent participation rate is high enough to make the monthly cost per can lower than previously calculated — instead of $5.50 it will now be $5.
Marshall said he was pleased with the response — or, rather the lack thereof — and said the numbers reflect the opinions he has heard from residents, and he hopes more will join in.
“There’s been lots of interest in this,” he said. “At our public hearings there were no negative comments, only positive ones.”
After a similar program started gaining traction in Stansbury Park last summer, talks of getting a curbside recycling program in Grantsville have been ongoing since last August.
The city began formally discussing the matter in December and awarded the contract to ACE Disposal in April. While the environmentally friendly nature of reusing and recycling was one reason for the city to consider the program, Marshall said the plan is also financially smart.
“We were at the point where if we didn’t do the recycling, the [garbage disposal] fees would have to increase,” he said.
To dispose of waste in the Tooele County Landfill, garbage trucks are charged $42 per ton. Marshall said Grantsville City currently averages about 68 tons of garbage per week. At an average of 3,536 tons of garbage per year at $42 per ton, the city pays about $148,512 per year.
Recycling trucks, however, are not charged a tipping fee, Marshall said. Even with paying ACE to pickup recyclables, he said, the city anticipates an estimated $50,000 in annual savings.
The original can-per-month amount was calculated based on a rate of 25 percent to 50 percent of residents participating. The mayor said with the 71 percent participation rate, the cost was adjusted to the 75 percent participation rate fee schedule. Part of the city’s idea was also to give residents, with two garbage cans that cost $7 per can per month, another option for disposal, he added.
For residents who have not opted out, blue cans will be delivered to their homes with an instructional pamphlet advising on what should and should not be recycled. Most are common-sense items, such as papers, metals and plastics, which do not have to be separated from each other.
Glass, however, is not an approved recyclable, as glass recycling facilities are mostly concentrated in the Midwest and therefore cost-prohibitive to haul material from the area, said Marshall. Other items, such as potato chip bags, which have metallized plastic layers, and diapers, are not allowed.
Marshall said the city is also trying to arrange larger recycling bins for placement in apartment complexes that wish to participate. That plan is being examined due to interest from residents who live in apartments, he said, especially from those living in Willow Creek Apartments.
All new residents will automatically participate in the program. Every June beginning June 2014, however, residents will be able to opt out if they have changed their minds during the previous year. Residents who have opted out can opt back into the program at any time. If participation significantly varies, Marshall said, the fee rate would be readjusted to reflect that.
“In Stansbury Park, [participation] has gone up and up,” he said. “I’m hoping this will grow as residents see it’s not as difficult to adjust to the option to recycle.”