ST. GEORGE – Recycling in St. George could move from clusters of bins to the addition of curbside service in the future.
St. George Mayor Jon Pike floated the idea of curbside recycling by the City Council earlier this year with a positive reception. The City Council discussed the matter further during a presentation given by representatives of Rocky Mountain Recycling and Republic Services Thursday.
Larry Gibbons, of Rocky Mountain Recycling, told the City Council that recycling in Washington County has picked up within the last decade. Approximately 600 tons of recyclable materials was diverted from the county landfill in 2008, with that amount swelling to 1,600 tons in 2013.
“Every year we’re seeing a little bit of a pick up,” Gibbons said.
Around 65 percent of discarded materials are recyclable, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, yet only 25 percent is actually recycled.
In Washington County, Gibbons said about 3 percent of recyclable materials make it to the plant Rocky Mountain Recycling has in St. George. That percentage could increase with proposed curbside service in the city, Gibbons said.
Curbside recycling services could run between $3-$7 per month, said Gordon Raymond, general manager of Republic Services. Raymond and Gibbons said the majority of cities on the Wasatch Front employ curbside recycling. Gibbons said he pays around $10 for the service where he lives.
A question of whether or not the program would be mandatory or allow residents to opt-out was discussed, though not hashed out in detail.
Though a large number of participants will help spread out the cost, Councilman Gil Almquist said he was in favor of an opt-out program. One of the reasons for this was to better accommodate people who live in St. George for a part of the year, Almquist said.
As for making the public aware of a curbside recycling program and its potential benefits, Gibbons said Rocky Mountain Recycling usually engages in public education campaigns concerning the matter.
“A lot of this is about education,” Councilman Jimmie Hughes said.
About 2,000 people in the St. George area are already subscribed to a curbside recycling service, Gibbons said
Pike said he would like to move forward with the program, noting that the particulars will still need to be worked out. The council gave its verbal approval.
Recycling in Washington County is currently handled through Washington County Solid Waste. A list of recycle drop-off bins can be found on its website here.
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