Curbside recycling desired; Recycling Task Force will recommend the city offer itThe Jamestown Chamber of Commerce Recycling Task Force will recommend to the City Council that the city offer curbside recycling. It will be up to the City Council to decide if the idea of curbside pick up of recyclables is feasible and what form it will take if it is. The council will discuss the various options and the price tag at its committee meetings later this month.
The Jamestown Chamber of Commerce Recycling Task Force will recommend to the City Council that the city offer curbside recycling.
It will be up to the City Council to decide if the idea of curbside pick up of recyclables is feasible and what form it will take if it is. The council will discuss the various options and the price tag at its committee meetings later this month.
The Recycling Task Force came out of the chamber’s City Beautification Committee, which member Joan Morris said “has always had a passion for recycling.”
The task force has about 10 members, said its chair, Christi Jarland. The members represent various areas of the community, such as Jamestown College, Central Valley Health District and the Jamestown Ministerial Association. Morris is the chamber board’s past chair and a member of the task force and the City Beautification Committee. Committee veterans Charlie Kourajian and Paulette Ritter also serve on the task force.
Jarland, who is a dispatcher at the Stutsman County Communications Center, said this is the first time she’s been on a community committee like this.
“But I’ve always had a burr in my bonnet for recycling,” she said.
The task force started about a year ago. Jarland said its members worked with the community alliance for management consulting class at the college to survey the community on curbside recycling. The task force got back more than 1,200 responses. The age distribution in the responses was about equal in the five groupings. Perhaps the largest segment represented was the 46- to 60-year-olds at 28 percent.
“We wanted to know if there was support for curbside recycling,” Morris said. “We were shocked when we got the survey back. It was such an overwhelming number — nearly 95 percent — supporting curbside.”
At the same time the task force began working with the consulting class, a leadership group at the college decided to do a pilot project on curbside pick up. Out of 115 people, nearly 96 percent were willing to participate.
The college students provided bins and picked up recyclables for six weeks. In their follow-up survey, about 98 percent of the participants said the city should establish curbside pick up. They also found that slightly more than 64 percent of them would be willing to pay a small fee for it, Jarland said. The task force found in its survey that about 75 percent of the respondents would be willing to pay $4 or more a month.
“Two independent surveys support curbside recycling and are willing to pay a fee to have it,” Morris said. “A lot of people in town think recycling is important.”
One of the task force questions dealt with landfills. Again nearly 87 percent said recycling would save valuable landfill space.
“Sanitary landfills are horribly expensive to set up, close down and monitor,” Morris said.
“If we had curbside recycling, think of how much could be diverted,” Jarland added.
Morris said a great deal of what could be recycled now goes to the landfill. The college leadership students estimated more than 3.8 million pounds could be diverted. The task for the City Council will be deciding whether the savings in landfill space outweighs the cost of curbside recycling.
“There would be the expense of bins and retrofitting garbage trucks,” Morris said. “Can the landfill savings make this viable? We’re hoping we can make this financially viable.”
The task force has to leave specifics on curbside recycling to the city. It will, however, recommend single stream recycling.
“That means all the recyclables go in one bin,” Jarland said. “Residents wouldn’t have to sort them.”
The city could go with that or ask residents to sort. It can do the pick up and sorting itself or bid the work out. Who pays for the service is another question the City Council needs to answer.
If the council decides to go with curbside recycling, Morris and Jarland said the task force sees education as its responsibility. Morris said the group is looking at public forums, speaking to community groups, brochures — even a phone line to answer questions.
“There’s a lot of education that goes with this,” Morris said. “But the task force is in a holding pattern until the city makes the decision about it and their part in it.”
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com