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Council encouraged to help recycling

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Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:00 pm

Recyclables were thrown into the city’s trash contract discussion last week.

On Dec. 5, the City of Elgin held a public hearing on the city’s potential trash contract with Republic Services, which is up for a vote next month. One citizen spoke during the hearing about the recycling aspect of the contract proposal.

Elgin City Council has been discussing the city’s trash service since the contract with Republic came up for renewal earlier this year. Cost has been one major factor.

“This was all about trying to modify the financial impact of making these changes to service,” City Manager Thomas Mattis said. 

“Basically, we were faced with a choice to maintain our current service as they are without any changes, but it required an increase of almost $5 per month (per customer).”

Mattis recapped the details of the contract proposal, which would be for seven years. 

Under the terms, there would be no rate increase for the first year, followed by a fixed rate increase of 2.85 percent in the six years to follow. Residential curbside service would remain the same. Commercial rates would increase by 15 percent, and industrial rates would increase by 10 percent.

For recycling, curbside tubs would be replaced with 96-gallon carts with lids. 

With the increased capacity, recyclable collection would reduce from every week to every other week.

“Because of these changes that we’re making, the council wanted to create an opportunity for citizens to weigh in in the hearing tonight before voting on the new contract next month,” Mattis said. 

Sue Beckwith, with the Texas Center for Local Food, spoke in support of the changes in the recycling aspect of the contract proposal. 

Beckwith commented that the bigger carts with lids would be a good idea. However, as the city educates the community about recycling changes, she added that it might be an opportunity to encourage citizens on more recycling participation as well. 

She emphasized the importance of recycling with an aluminum can and plastic water bottle she brought.

“Americans drink one of these (aluminum cans) every day on average,” Beckwith said. 

“We recycle a little less than 50 percent of these in the country. The amount of energy used to make another can out of this can reduces the amount of energy used by 95 percent over what it would cost to use virgin material to make a whole new can, and this can be turned around, recycled and made into another can over into HEB within six weeks, depending on where you live in the country.

“In the world, we use one million of these (plastic water bottles) per minute,” Beckwith added.

“That’s 20,000 per second. We also recycle than 50 percent of these bottles in the country. So, I think Elgin’s participation rate is probably pretty low.”

A vote on the proposal is slated to be on next month’s agenda.

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