City recycling -- in need of fresh ideas?
[City Controller Saidel] and recycling advocates point to the $58 or so spent to dump each ton of trash at a landfill as a source of mega-savings. They maintain the city could save millions by such steps as enforcing the recycling ordinance; picking up additional materials, such as plastic, heavy cardboard and yard waste; and extending weekly recycling pickups across the city, where many neighborhoods still recycle every other week.It's amazing to me is that chunks of the city still has recycling pick-up only biweekly. I can tell you from personal experience that that means that much more stuff gets dumped in the trash -- imagine one rainy pick-up day and how much paper you'll have after 4 total weeks of accumulation, or one forgotten recycling day and the smell of your old cans -- and statistics bear that out.
But the Streets Department insists it isn't all that simple. Officials say it costs more to collect recyclables than trash, potentially cancelling out future savings on landfill costs.
In fact, a new trial incentive program was launched this past spring (see previous story here), which has tripled participation in the regions affected. However, it appears that plans haven't yet been made to expand that approach more widely. Part of the debate is whether the rebates could be funded by city savings in waste-dump fees (offset by the higher cost of collection). I hope that this, and the simpler suggestions, are all followed up.