January 17, 2012 – Is curbside recycling coming to Normal this year? Most of the councilmembers on the Normal Town Council support passing the measure.
Mark Peterson, Normal city manager, led a council presentation and discussion on the issue Tuesday night. Mr. Peterson said that recent efficiency gains with automatic waste pick-up, initiated in 2011, presented the city with an opportunity to introduce a new service with a minimal cost increase. With automatic waste pick-up and new single-stream recycling technology. Mr. Petersen recommended that the council consider passage of curbside recycling this year.
Normal has used the drop-off location system for recycling for just over 20 years, which under the new curbside system, would continue with fewer containers. The current number of 15 drop-off containers would be decreased to approximately 7. This service, according to Mark Petersen, is still vital for apartment dwellers and people who live outside the city limits.
Under the new system, the cost of curbside recycling would be $2 per month added to the town’s waste disposal bill, raising it from $10 to $12 per month. People would purchase a large recycling container for $60, similar in size to the waste receptacles distributed in 2011 for the automatic system. Mr. Peterson proposed that there be a window of time, approximately 40-45 days, when the containers would be sold at half-price, or $30.
Some of the discussion among councilmembers was the possibility of allowing participants to purchase a smaller 65 gallon container, instead of the larger 95 gallon receptacle.
Jason Chambers, one of the conservative members of the council, suggested that the town look into the option of the program being voluntary. Mr. Peterson said this option would be do-able, but that it would be a departure from the current policy of charging a set waste disposal fee regardless of the type of disposal needs resident have. Cheryl Gaines later commented on this point, saying that recycling is waste like any other type and should be included in the city waste pickup services.
Councilmember Jeff Fritzen wanted the council to slow down on passing curbside recycling, suggesting a pilot program for the estimation of participation rates and the setting of fees. Almost all the other councilmembers were enthusiastic about the prospects for curbside recycling.
Councilmember Cheryl Gaines spoke toward the end of the discussion session, saying that the response she had received from the community to curbside recycling was overwhelmingly positive. Ms. Gaines said that issues raised should be looked at, such as smaller receptacles and bi-weekly pick-up.