Although the number of citizen opt-ins fell short, Tooele City will offer a curbside recycling service starting next year, a city official said.
“We have obtained 17 percent, which is a small percentage short of the requirement, but the administration and city council have made a decision to adopt curbside recycling with that percentage,” said council chairman Brad Pratt at the start of Wednesday night’s city council meeting.
Council members had originally set the minimum participation requirement at 20 percent. With 9,870 active utility accounts, that meant at least 1,974 households had to sign up to meet the requirement, said Mayor Patrick Dunlavy.
The final number of registrants was 1,758, but city leaders have decided to go forward with the program anyway.
For those who opted into the program, Ace Recycling and Disposal will begin picking up recycling in January 2017. A recycling truck will collect recycling every two weeks on residents’ established garbage days.
The city will create a new utility fund for recycling and only those who opted in will have to pay the extra bill. The program will not draw on the city’s general fund, according to Dunlavy.
Costs were originally estimated at $4.75-$6 per can per month, depending on how many people signed up. Now that the registration period is over, Dunlavy is negotiating the final cost, he said.
Katie Carlile, a resident of Overlake who runs the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Tooele” Facebook page, was thrilled when she saw Tooele City post on social media that it would adopt a curbside recycling program.
“I saw the city post and kind of couldn’t believe it, to be honest,” she said. “But I am just happy and grateful that they’re willing to provide a service for people that want it. … I’m going to be writing a big pile of thank-you notes to the mayor and city council today.”
As curbside recycling gets going, Carlile believes the program will grow from year to year.
“I know it’s going to pick up from here. It’s going to be really good for the community,” she said. “I don’t know why some people are strangely angry about it, but they’re so few and far between. I think, for the most part, people are going to be [supportive].”
According to the Tooele City website, all residents who opted into recycling made a commitment to participate in the service for one year. After 2017, the city will hold an annual opt-in, opt-out period between Jan. 1 and 31.
Through the new program, residents will be able to recycle paper, cardboard, plastics No. 1-7 and metals like cans and clean aluminum foil. Plastic grocery bags are not accepted and items should not be bagged.
More information about the cost of the program will be published as it becomes available.