Smaller trash cans may encourage recycling
February 21, 2012
If the environment doesn’t inspire Summit County residents to recycle, maybe a smaller trash can will. That is what the Summit County Council was hoping when it approved a request for proposals for the county’s trash collection on Wednesday that would encourage a provider to expand recycling bins and curbside pick-up.
The request for proposals (RFP) says that the county is looking for a provider that will "Expand curbside recycling to densely populated areas and drop-site recycling centers for greater participation and expand and increase public recycling and waste reduction education program."
According to the county’s 2011 report, Summit County residential customers generate 21,726 tons of refuse annually. To cut back on waste and extend the life of Summit County’s Thee Mile Landfill, Summit County Manager Bob Jasper said they are hoping a trash collector will find ways to encourage recycling.
"We are hoping to pick up trash once a week and recycling every other week," Jasper said. "Residents would get a 65-gallon can for trash and a 95-gallon can for recycling. If people need a larger trash can they can pay more for it."
Jasper said that the larger recycling bin will make it easier for people to recycle and the smaller trash cans will make them notice how much waste they are throwing away. Currently, most Summit County residents have 96-gallon trash containers that are picked up once a week.
The County Council is also encouraging new providers to expand curbside recycling by extending service to Pinebrook and Coalville.
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"We want everyone to have more access to recycling," Jasper said. "We want to bring curbside recycling to the smaller cities and have large recycling drop-off areas for the rural areas. The potential carriers that have seen our RFP so far seem to like it."
Council members debated whether it was best to allow the trash contractor to keep the profits from selling recyclables or if the county should take the proceeds. Council member Chris Robinson said it may encourage the contractor to collect as much recycling as possible if they get to keep a portion of the profits but Recycle Utah Executive Director Insa Riepen disagreed.
"The average household recycles hundreds of pounds each year and that could bring in a lot of money for the county," Riepen said. "It will be a challenge for the county to keep track of the profits. If they decide to split the proceeds from recycling with the contractor, I would audit it, because it could be worth it for the county."
The council decided to let the contractors determine in their proposals how they would like to divide the profits from recycling. The county is expecting to choose a trash collection bid in the next month.
When it comes to the bids, nothing is ruled out, according to Jasper.
"We want any and every bid," he said. "Creativity is great also. We really want to see what our best option is."