Although a lot of Lawrence residents want to give new life to everything recyclable, lack of storage coupled with an inconsistent market makes that goal impossible for now, the city's recycling coordinator says.
Pat Marvin said she has seen the amount of recycling triple in Lawrence since she came on board as coordinator. Marvin joined the city part time in 1989, and her position was made full time in 1990.
Marvin contends that Lawrence residents have responded well to recycling, and she thinks they'd like to recycle more. But several materials, such as cardboard and some types of plastics, for example, can't be recycled locally at this time. The inability to recycle those materials, she says, frustrates a lot of people who want to do their part for the environment.
On Friday afternoon, Marvin talked about gaps in recycling in Lawrence and what she saw as possible solutions.
A MAJOR problem, Marvin said, is that Lawrence lacks a "convenient drop-off site for everything."
Many businesses that accept recycled materials offer limited drop-off hours, Marvin said. What Lawrence needs, she said, is a recycling center that would be open Monday through Saturday with evening hours, making recycling as easy a task as possible.
A subcommittee of Marvin's recycling advisory board is meeting at 4 p.m. April 21 in the third floor conference room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.
Goals cited by the subcommittee, which is considering the feasibility of a cooperative recycling center, are:
To provide improved access to primary recycling services to both public and private recyclers.
To develop a system to collect, bale, store, ship and market corrugated cardboard.
To identify specific needs required to efficiently recycle a variety of materials.
To encourage the development of an attended drop-off site that would accept several materials from the public.
To create a cooperative spirit between public and private sectors interested in improving the economic profile of recycling in Lawrence.
MARVIN SAID anyone interested in recycling may attend the meeting.
At least one gap in local recycling will be filled this summer when the city opens its household hazardous waste center, Marvin said. The depot, at 23rd and Delaware, will serve as a drop-off site for household chemicals Lawrence residents want to dispose of safely. Marvin stressed that the center would not be a toxic waste site but would provide local residents with a place to take such things as leftover cleaning supplies and paint.
A gap that already has been filled is yard waste. The city's "Earthbound '92" program features a Saturday drop-off site and a Wednesday curbside program. On Saturdays, people may drop off grass, leaves, used motor oil and automotive batteries between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Centennial Park off Rockledge Road and at the train depot in North Lawrence off North Third St.
ON WEDNESDAY mornings, the city picks up grass and leaves on a curbside basis within two areas: neighborhoods south of 23rd Street; and all areas west of Iowa Street. Marvin said local residents' response to the program has been encouraging.
Marvin believes some of the city's recycling gaps will be taken care of when Wal-Mart opens its new store, which will include a recycling center, at 33rd and Iowa. The site plan for the store calls for a 2,052-square-foot recycling center that would accept food and beverage glass, aluminum, cardboard and plastics. Wal-Mart's revised site plan, approved by the Lawrence City Commission, also includes an area for composting.
ALTHOUGH Marvin said she was looking forward to the opening of the center, she said Lawrence residents couldn't depend on the new facility to meet all of the city's recycling needs.
"We have to come up with things to complement it," she said.
Marvin said she saw the Wal-Mart recycling center as part, though not all, of the solution.
Another local company hopes to expand its offerings this summer. Barbara Domonoske of Conservation Resources said that company hopes to be able to receive more materials starting this summer.
Conservation Resources, a curbside recycling service that charges a monthly fee for pickup, now takes food and beverage glass, tin cans, steel cans, aluminum cans, plastic milk jugs, No. 2 and No. 4 plastics, which include items like detergent bottles and lids to coffee cans, newspapers, computer paper, magazines, white bond paper, paint, scrap metal and appliances.
CONSERVATION Resources expects a local market will open later in the year for some of the materials the company currently is not able to accept, Domonoske said.
Marvin said an "off-and-on" market for recyclables plagues companies such as Conservation Resources and results in gaps in what local residents can recycle.
But for all the roadblocks, Marvin said: "We are recycling the most recyclable of the products."