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Earth Friendly: Show your support for curbside recycling

March 10, 2011 at midnight
Updated March 9, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.

Meridith Byrd

By Meridith Byrd

Curbside recycling might finally become a reality for Victoria. After months of negotiations, the city's Environmental Services Department is prepared to present to the city council a proposal to enact a single-stream curbside recycling and household hazardous waste pickup program for Victoria.

Victorians have an exciting opportunity to voice our support for curbside recycling during the work session of the March 22 city council meeting. Please attend the meeting, contact your council member or the mayor, and spread the word to others to support this exciting opportunity.

The city proposes to enter into a contract with Waste Management, who would open a recycling transfer station here in town. The city of Victoria would pick up the recyclables and transport them to Waste Management's transfer station, where they would then be compacted and shipped to Houston for processing. The city-run Huvar Street recycling drop off facility would close, but Waste Management's transfer station would accept drop offs.

Future plans include commercial recycling pickup so that businesses could participate, as well.

What is single-stream curbside recycling?

Simply put, single-stream curbside recycling means that all recyclables are put into a single container and picked up at the curb. No sorting. No transporting recyclables to a drop off facility. Recycling will become easy and convenient.

How would curbside recycling work?

Victorians will be issued a green recycling cart that is the same size as your garbage cart. All recyclables are put into the recycling cart together: mixed paper and paperboard, cardboard, aluminum, steel, tin, plastics No. 1-7 and glass. The additions of glass and plastics No. 3-7 are especially exciting, since neither are currently accepted for recycling. Once again, no sorting will be required. The cart is placed at the curb on the designated day, and city crews will come by and collect the recyclables, similar to how the garbage is collected. Recycling will be picked up on a different day than garbage.

How would household hazardous waste pickup work?

We all have things around our house that should never be sent to the landfill: TVs, pesticides, paints and batteries, to name a few. If this proposal is accepted, residents would be able to call Waste Management and have household hazardous waste picked up from their doorstep. No more waiting for the city to hold a household hazardous waste dropoff event.

What impact will curbside recycling have on Victoria?

Darryl Lesak, assistant director of Environmental Services, hopes that a curbside recycling program will result in fewer residents paying for extra garbage carts, which cost $5 per month. There will be a nominal charge on residents' utility bill for the household hazardous waste and recycling programs, and residents will not be able to opt-out. However, this fee will be much less than the cost for an extra garbage cart.

The city has a huge incentive in the proposal: Waste Management will be giving the recycling carts to the city at no cost. Since the city does not have to pay for the carts, the fee can be kept to a minimum. This will also save capital costs and space at the landfill, due to less waste taken there.

How can you show your support?

Make plans to attend the council meeting at 5 p.m. March 22 in the council chambers at the corner of Juan Linn and Main streets. Join me in standing before the council and urging them to vote in favor of curbside recycling.

If you are unable to attend, contact your city council member and let them know that you want curbside recycling to become a reality for Victoria. Contact information for each council member can be found at www.victoriatx.org/council/members.asp.

Write a letter to the editor voicing your support for curbside recycling and urging others to do so.

We have an unprecedented opportunity before us to have an inexpensive curbside recycling and household hazardous waste program in Victoria. This opportunity might not present itself again for a very long time, so please come out and show your support. Let our city council know that Victoria is ready for curbside recycling.

Meridith Byrd is a marine biologist and invites read ers to contact her at meridith.byrd@gmail.com.

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