Time is running out fast for Tooele City citizens who want curbside recycling but haven’t signed up yet with City Hall for the proposed service.
Monday is the “opt in” deadline, and as we reported on page A2 in Thursday’s edition, City Hall is running short of the required number of households to provide the proposed service.
By last Friday, 1,372 citizens had signed up for curbside recycling. With six days left, 602 more are needed to meet a required 20-percent minimum participation level to make the service sustainable.
City Hall began the opt-in process in September four weeks after the city council voted to begin curbside recycling in 2017 — but only if enough citizens want it. The 20-percent opt-in was set at 1,974 households. The council agreed to the measure, in part, because of citizen interest and overwhelming success of a commercial recycling bin that was placed behind City Hall on a trial basis last summer.
The bin needed to be emptied often, and its popularity sent a strong message there are citizens who want to recycle and not have all of their household garbage dumped into a landfill.
But in a city of approximately 10,000 households, and with only days remaining for 602 more citizens to opt in, has the strength of that message lost its momentum? Is it possible the approximate 1,400 city households that have opted in represent the total amount of interest in the service?
We hope not. When a citizen’s recycling advocacy group approached city leaders a year ago, we applauded their efforts to encourage City Hall to give curbside recycling a try. We thought the heavy use of the recycling bin last summer may translate into vigorous citizen support and the sign-up requirement would be quickly met. But so far that hasn’t happened.
Perhaps what’s in the way for some citizens is the service’s projected cost of $4.75-$6 per month. For citizens who only have one garbage can at their residence for curbside garbage pickup, which costs $11 per month, the extra fee for recycling pickup may not present a cost burden. But for citizens who have two garbage cans at $16.50 per month, the extra cost of a recycling can may be a deterrent. Yet, it’s possible many of those citizens could replace their second garbage with a recycling can — and possibly save nearly a buck a month.
Recycling’s benefits have been well documented since the first reported community recycling campaign in 1970. The main benefits, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, include reducing the need for new raw materials and the amount of waste dumped into landfills. Both result in lower pollution levels and greenhouse gas emissions.
Citizens who want curbside recycling, but haven’t signed up yet, are urged to make their support known at City Hall on or before Monday. But for those who hold out to the last day, in-person sign-up at City Hall’s finance department ends at 5 p.m. Monday, and online sign-up at tooelecity.org ends at midnight.
A progressive city and its citizens take an active role in recycling household waste. It’s time for Tooele City to join in.