ST. GEORGE – In order to make a proposed curbside recycle program feasible, 50 percent or more of Washington County’s population needed to opt-in to the program. On Friday, the Washington County Solid Waste District announced 87 percent of the county opted to participate in the BluCan Curbside Recycling program.
“This is a very exciting success for the program,” WCSW District Manager Neil Schwendiman said in a press release. “We didn’t expect to have this many people willing and eager to participate.”
- The opt-out period wrapped up at the end of October and the numbers are in:
- A total of 41,944 homes are participating out of 48,235 qualifying homes in all the participating cities in Washington County
- St. George’s participation rate is 85 percent and Washington City came in at a solid 88 percent
The smaller municipalities La Verkin, Leeds, Virgin, Rockville, Toquerville and Santa Clara ranged from 49 percent to 78 percent participation.
Springdale, Ivins and Hurricane are mandatory cities and all their citizens are required to participate.
“And so now we will be doing curbside recycling,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said at the conclusion of a City Council meeting Thursday.
In St. George, Washington City and other cities where 70 percent or more of the residents opted in, the original monthly charge for curbside service – projected to be about $4 – will go down.
For St. George, Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager, said Friday that the city’s monthly cost is estimated to drop to around $3.15, which includes city administrative fees. The $3.15 estimate is preliminary, Mortensen said, yet said it is anticipated the final cost will fall somewhere between $3.10 and $3.15.
As for the remaining 15 percent of St. George, along with those in other cities who opted out, Mortensen said those residents can opt-in at any time in the future.
A big reason for implementing the program is to divert as much recyclable material as possible away from the county landfill. Doing so is expected to extend the life of the landfill in the long run.
“The diversion (from the landfill) is the main reason for it,” Pike said. “… And it’s still cheaper to recycle than it is to bury it.”
The name BluCan itself stands for “Better Landfill Utilization,” according to the WCSW District.
“Saving landfill space will make a significant impact for the area,” district officials said in a press release in August. “While the current landfill has many years of use remaining, the value of reducing the current stream of waste to lengthen its life and preserve land space benefits future generations,”
BluCans to be used for the program have been ordered, Pike said, with delivery to participating homes set for January.
The recycling program is slated to begin in February, with pickup being done twice a month by Republic Services, the company contracted by the district to collect the recyclables.
“Everything’s in motion,” Pike said.
BluCan allows residents to deposit paper, plastic, cardboard and metal waste into their own BluCan, a can that will be similar to their current garbage can. Glass is currently excluded from the list of acceptable recyclables.
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