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Archive for Monday, June 16, 2008

Recycling options

Adding another service that doesn’t pay for itself probably isn’t a winning decision for the city of Lawrence.

June 16, 2008

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Lawrence residents want curbside trash recycling. The question is how much they are willing to pay for it.

Survey results released by the city last week should offer some useful guidance about whether the city should move forward on curbside recycling. The fact that 73 percent of respondents said they currently recycle indicates strong local interest, but the number seems implausibly high unless you count everyone who throws an aluminum can in a recycling bin.

The real test here, of course, is who is willing to pay - and how much - for the city to pick up and process recyclable trash. Predictably, the number of people who want the city to offer a curbside recycling service goes down as the fee they would have to pay goes up. Fifty-eight percent said the city should start a curbside recycling program, but only 49 percent said they were likely to pay $6 per month for such a service. At $9 per month, that number goes down to 21 percent, and at $12 a month drops to 10 percent.

Although the survey offered options, a city service almost certainly would give local residents no choice and simply attach a flat fee to everyone's refuse bill whether they used the recycling service or not.

The fact is, that at $12 or even $6 per month, everyone in Lawrence already can pay a private curbside recycling service for one or more pickups per month. So those who are willing to pay already have options.

The other aspect for the city, however, is how much more trash it could divert from the municipal landfill by operating its own curbside recycling. It's true that if Lawrence residents were required to pay for recycling whether they used it or not, more people probably would use it. That would mean less recyclable trash going to the landfill, but would those savings plus the additional fees cover the costs of the new program?

It's great to be environmentally conscious, but it seems that the last thing the city of Lawrence needs right now is another city service that doesn't pay for itself - especially when that service is readily available through private businesses in the community.

Even city leaders expressed mixed reactions to the survey results. That should tell them something. Until there is a clear indication that curbside recycling has a reasonable chance of breaking even for the city, it's a service that probably is better handled by private operators.

Comments

hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

My, we all have so much time on our hands. The entertainment value of this forum is worth wasting time each day just to be a part of it.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 10 months ago

autie (Anonymous) says: "In my opinion the landfills are monuments to the stupidity of man. There is a better way. I cannot give one a link or citation for my opinion. I just said it."Marion writes:Well, at least Autie is open or brazen enough to admit that his/her/its "opinions" are just that and completely without rational foundation and not founded in research science or fact.Kinda like most of the "opinions" of the Left.

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phenommenom 5 years, 10 months ago

I think I am falling in love with Merrill......

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pace 5 years, 10 months ago

Continue investing in landfill only disposal of all things put out at the curb is a not a good long range plan. paper and metals are resources that could bolster our economy. Yes it will cost to effect change, but the wins are more than environmental and long term economics. Curbside collection is inclusive, it encourages people to act, to accept responsibility for how they handle the materials that are so convenient. A lot of packaging is just not necessary, The ljw seems to be saying, ignore the waste costs of our product, we are not responsible for anything we sell once we have got it sold. Well they should be, they should be encouraging methods that help their main product be used in environmental and economically positive ways. Not blow off the environment because they would prefer not to accept their part of the responsibility and they seem to be saying the community shouldn't care if they don't.

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autie 5 years, 10 months ago

so now Marion saw the word of Marion and saw that it was good. Since he knows everyone saw the comment as arrogant nonsense. Marion is psychic as well?In my opinion the landfills are monuments to the stupidity of man. There is a better way. I cannot give one a link or citation for my opinion. I just said it. It does not take much to understand that unless your mind is filled with arrogant nonsense..or vodka.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 10 months ago

autie (Anonymous) says: current or recent citations? "Autie; June 16, 2008 @ 1:24 pm."Marion writes:And Autie saw the Word of Autie and saw that it was good.Everyone else saw it as arrogant nonsense, though!

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commuter 5 years, 10 months ago

Merrill:Ask Boog, Schauner & Rundle why they kept on spending when tax revenues were falling? Come on ask your buddies please!!! A Huge part of the problem is people wanting money from the city.If residential doesn't pay, please feel free to send a check to city to pay for your share. Since you house is a lot older than mine, you would owe a heck of a lot of money.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

bowhunter, if it doesn't pay for itself , it will be done. It shall be done without further ado.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

How long would it take to demolish this whole town? There is a need for a road bed for the South Lawrence trafficway. The closer the fill is, the cheaper it will be to build.

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macon47 5 years, 10 months ago

the grass root goonies elected just enoughstupid commissioners by getting themto agree to support the mt bus systemthat in itself is a financial disasterand a huge drain on the city .now the same groups are urging the samesick sister commissioners to support thisidiotic idea of a recycling program...how many of these warm and fuzzy programs can the rest of us pay forto indulge 500 people?

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ontheotherhand 5 years, 10 months ago

Marion, yes, we might never run out of actual space to place landfills, but how far are cities willing to go with (and pay for) their trash? Manhattan's landfill filled up years ago and they were driving semi trucks to Lawrence's landfill. Sorry, I do not know if they still do it, but I know they did back in the late 90s, early 00s. The barges that take trash out of New York City every day (to take their trash elsewhere) cannot be cheap. Who wants that in their back yard?Also, your citation stated that today's landfills are not near water supplies and golf courses are even built on top of them. That sounds good, but I wonder if someone will build on top of these areas 30, 40, 50 years from now. (That's a rhetorical question. I don't think any of us know the answer.)

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macon47 5 years, 10 months ago

if you are too lazy to handle your own recyclingwho do you get to haul your trash to the curb?we plan our trips when we recyle andit does give us a feeling of helping whenwe return from our errands.i guess if you cannot get your fatt butt off the couch,in front of the tv or off the computer you probably also need someone to bathe you.(do you expect the city to provide that service?)recycling is not a science. it is simply a way to help.and having the city do it for you is a waste of taxpayers money

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Bowhunter99 5 years, 10 months ago

if "Adding another service that doesn't pay for itself probably isn't a winning decision for the city of Lawrence", then Lawrence should get rid of all services that do not pay for themselves -- starting with the mT.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

We can go to Rawlins county where they take the trash to the dump. Problem solved. Here we study it and consider it and then find that after all the studying and considering we are back to the same garbage can by the curb.

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pace 5 years, 10 months ago

I find the ideas presented worth following, I am not worried that a curbside collection plan won't be perfect, i am worried they will continue to do nothing. just make it so we aren't driving all over town at 4dollars a gallon. Curbside is more efficient and encourages people to participate. I realize I am being picky but for the LJW to write an editorial to discourage efficient recycling of newspapers is horrible. Even the beer companies support the recycling of their cans. The newspaper seems to be in complete denial that they are a huge part of the paper chain. Great market for newspapers/cardboard, not a gold mine like the metals but steady and many local users in kansas. What in the world are they thinking. Curbside collection would recover a huge amount of their own product and they say sure the environment is important but not important enough to do it in an efficient and inclusive manner.

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autie 5 years, 10 months ago

current or recent citations? "Autie; June 16, 2008 @ 1:24 pm."

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

But Lawrence is not a similar city to any city!

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ncarlson 5 years, 10 months ago

I was a resident of Lawrence for many years and have recently moved to Tucson. Tucson has a city-wide recycling program run by the city. There's no confusion as to "where to take the recycling", and it's all one coordinated system. A system consisting of several recycling centers and companies seems ad-hoc and uncoordinated to me. A collective problem is generally best solved in a collective manner. I prefer a solution rooted in the community, where collectively we say, "This is something we need to do together." As to the "cost" of a city-wide system, this was ill-defined in the editorial and in the survey. We need to look beyond short-term monthly costs (which pale beside, say, how much of our tax dollars we choose to allocate to unnecessary military ventures), and realize that if we don't take all the steps necessary to safeguard the environment of our planet, our only home, there's a far greater price waiting to be paid, and probably sooner than we think. This isn't just some ``Greenie" line, a name Marion used in a derogatory manner, it's about responsibility. It's high-time Lawrence had a city-wide recycling program and finally got in tune with what many similar cities are doing.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 10 months ago

autie (Anonymous) says: "Landfills are monuments to the stupidity of man."Marion writes:Current or recent citations, please!

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ukillaJJ 5 years, 10 months ago

Does the water system, plumbing, and trash pay for itself? I don't think so, but society definitely benefits from it.

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autie 5 years, 10 months ago

centre? fibre? coloured? did Marion wake up British this morning? Please recycle what you can. Landfills are monuments to the stupidity of man.

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cool 5 years, 10 months ago

we don't need curbside for everyone !how about a couple more recycle centersnorth lawrenceeast lawrencecentral lawrence so forth.i live in centennial and these could be throughout the cityand then i wouldn't have to go near Wal-Mart !

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Jay_Z 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow, $6 - $12 a month...how did the city come up with those numbers?? I live in Wyandotte County, and they are beginning to implement curbside recycling for $3 a month--and they'll pick up your recycling every week when they stop for your trash.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

Dog rugs, baby rugs, kindergarten rugs, pads for nursing homes, rugs to put on the porch swing. heck quilt size rugs to sleep on under the bridge. Rugs to hang on the porch to keep the sun out, rug shades to keep the cold out, hang at the windows. maybe even drape the town in a big rug, Christo style. Pee Wee Loring is so unimaginative, he depends on fund raisers at the Country club. Tell you, even Penn House isn't smart enough to do something with the clothes they don't want. Putting them into a dumpster makes me think twice about donating. Better to start throwing everything into the dumpster and be done with it. It really is. If city hall wants to recycle, lets start dumping what we don't want in front and leave it. This commission should not even consider this boondoggle, because they haven't even successfully completeed most of what they have taken on. They are too slow, too slow ! And how can recycling be considered by the city if 50 percent of 700 surveys is correct. That means 350 people of 80,000 would dictate policy? If so, we have spineless commissioners, absolutely!. They need to take care of what they have already on their plates. After all, if they are willing to let a fireman die in a fire god forbid, then we don't have much hope. They should be sued, quite frankly for their inept;ness in making decisions. Five commissioners and not one of them could even make a motion to order demoliton of 1232 La. After all, it will be recycled at Hamm's Landfill or where ever. Maybe one day the commissioneers will wake up and Corliss as well and realize how slow, how inept and how lacking the guts to make hard tough decisions and quit 'passing the buck". With the amount of city employees, they too could start weaving rugs from old clothes. The town needs some local products and now is the chance.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 10 months ago

Hawk:You made me choke on my coffee!

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

Marion, you spoke about recycling clothing. Penn House recycles right into the dumpster. Went there to get some rags and found nice clothes. Turned them over to someone and Trinity Lutheran sold them at a rummage sale. If fibers were really being recycled then Loring Henderson would get a dump truck full of clothes, have the folks at Pee Wee Loring's playhouse sit on the porch with some scissors and rip the duds up and weave into rag rugs and then the "wealty" folks like Mangino and the others who got together for a fund raisers could drive by and buy rag rugs. Imagine hand made rugs made by Americans in Lawrence Kansas. jThe new hotel could even have a fancy rag rug in the lobby, woven by drunks . HOw many pairs of scissors does the drop in center need?Newspapers can be woven into place mats. We made them at summer camp years ago. This town is so far behind the eight ball. Very unprogressive. and not very green. The only thing green about Lawrence is the belly button lint and toe jam.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 10 months ago

There is not now, nor will there ever be a "shortage" of landfill space.http://www.williams.edu/HistSci/curriculum/101/garbage.htmlThe Greenies will not like this one!:http://www.reason.org/outofcontrol/archives/2006/02/recycled_recycl.htmlFrom the citation:"Clemson Professor Daniel K. Benjamin notes that rather than running out of space, overall capacity is growing. "In fact," he says, "the United States today has more landfill capacity than ever before." He adds that the total land area required to contain every scrap of this country's garbage for the next 100 years would be only 10 miles square. The Nevada Policy Research Institute's numbers are even more dramatic: an area 44 miles square and 120 feet deep would handle all of America's garbage for the next millennium.""# Aren't landfills a public health hazard? No. America's image of landfills was fixed decades ago, and is that of Staten Island's Fresh Kills, a vast swampy expanse of detritus, with huge Caterpillar tractors trundling over it, and clouds of seagulls obscuring everything above ground. Fresh Kills received New York's garbage for 53 years before it was closed in 2001. Modern landfills have nothing in common with the place. Benjamin says that new landfills are located far from groundwater supplies, and are built on thick clay beds that are covered with plastic liners, on top of which goes another layer of sand or gravel. Pipes remove leachate, which is then treated at wastewater plants. Escaping gas is burned or sold. A park or golf course or industrial development eventually goes over the landfill. "Fresh Kills also looked dangerous, a veritable soup of deadly poisons and nasty chemicals, seeping and dissolving and dispersing. But that's not the case with new landfills. Daniel Benjamin writes, "According to the EPA's own estimates, modern landfills can be expected to cause 5.7 cancer-related deaths over the next 300 years--just one death every 50 years. To put this in perspective, cancer kills over 560,000 people every year in the United States."

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macon47 5 years, 10 months ago

It is indeed embarrassing these grass rootsGroups are too lazy to handle their own Recycling. They already have plenty of free and fee based Options .. What else can we buy for them To make their lives just a little more special?

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seriouscat 5 years, 10 months ago

Supply and demand of more eco-friendly packaging on our consumer goods + Curbside Recycling + Pay as you throw =Less trash, less waste, less landfill space. hey sounds like a cheer!

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dandelion 5 years, 10 months ago

I don't mind doing my recycling, but I don't like paying the same for trash pickup as those who refuse to recycle. I like the plans that Marion talks about. Don't want to recycle, then pay more for trash pickup.

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Pilgrim 5 years, 10 months ago

Yet another LJW editorial that overwhelms Richard's OCD meds.

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pace 5 years, 10 months ago

one of the ironies of this editorial is if anyone should advocate curbside recycling of paper it is a company that very much wants to put a recyclable material in every home and business they can, it is the newspaper. If they don't want it recycled maybe we just shouldn't buy it. Shame on the ljw for not ever taking responsibility for their part of using resources. The least they could do is encourage curbside collection rather than the pointless disposal of a very recyclable material. Shame on them.If curbside collection of the material makes no sense to them, neither does delivery of the paper. if everyone had to drive and pick up the paper wonder how their circulation rate would be affected. Another corporate answer, putting the onus of their trash on the public. They sell it, we buy it but we are suppose to ignore their responsibility in the chain.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

"Merrill, still wants to convert the current library to a convention center. Why not clean up the current library and use it for a library, and how about using the Carnegie Building as part of the library system. AFter all, this is about recylcling. As for a convention center, the current post office buidling would do just fine, in the event that operation is moved elsewhere. There could still be a service counter, yep, even in a Convention Center."You may change your mind once you become more aware of the Fritzel tax dollar plan.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

In communities with pay-as-you-throw programs (also known as unit pricing or variable-rate pricing), residents are charged for the collection of municipal solid waste-ordinary household trash-based on the amount they throw away. This creates a direct economic incentive to generate less waste.Traditionally, residents pay for waste collection through property taxes or a fixed fee, regardless of how much-or how little-trash they generate. Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) breaks with tradition by treating trash services just like electricity, gas, and other utilities. Households pay a variable rate depending on the amount of service they use.Most communities with PAYT charge residents a fee for each bag or can of waste they generate. In a small number of communities, residents are billed based on the weight of their trash. Either way, these programs are simple and fair. The less individuals throw away, the less they pay.EPA supports this new approach to solid waste management.Frankly tenants or landlords should see to it that too much waste gets hauled to the landfill. Should not be the responsibility of city taxpayers to fund this wasteful lifestyle.

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pace 5 years, 10 months ago

Get someone with good administrative and marketing skills to run and develop the system, yoo yoo is a good old boy that will design it to fail and preen himself as the victor. lots of things can be recycled and why have all the cars driving all over to do it. If you just pick up metals and paper/cardboards even once a month, but best weekly. it is a win win for the community and the earth. Recycling on a regular basis is one of the best teachers of reduction. Every home and business in this town has easily recognized paper, put it in a bin and set it out weekly, We are sending thousands of pound of aluminum and tons of metal 11 miles to the landfill on a regular basis. price of gas at a gallon a mile. Recycle those two types of material curbside and we reduce those trips. i believe that landfills are good, they are good for unrecyclable trash.

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HighScore 5 years, 10 months ago

I can certainly understand that people are reluctant to pay $12 for a curbside recycling program ontop of their existing monthly payment to city for trash removal. I myself would be willing to pay for this service, but $12/month seems very high for material that can be recycled for cast. Shouldn't the city be making money on the aluminum and other recycled materials?I was just curious if the program "recyclebank" has been discussed as an option for city-wide recycling.http://www.recyclebank.com/After reading more on the company's website it sounds as thought it could be an excellent option for the city of Lawrence. This group will provide curbside recycling and actually pay the users for their recycled materials. Sure this payment is in the form of gift certificates, but it still beats having to pay for the recycling service. The difficulty with having this service introduced is that it is not just done on an individual basis. It seems that the recyclebank system will need to be introduced on a large, city-wide scale. I am not even sure if Lawrence would be large enough for this service.I just find it strange that this group has found a way to run a business on recycling that does not cost the user's anything, and actually gives them more incentive to recycle. I guess it just comes down to dollarsigns. Why would Lawrence outsource this recycling effort when they can charge $12 a household per month and also make money on the recycled materials. Is it just me, or does this sound very selfish of the City of Lawrence?

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Sigmund 5 years, 10 months ago

Those that want curbside recycling and are willing to pay for it already are. Those that want curbside recycling but don't want to pay the full cost of the service want the taxpayers to subsidize it.

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Pilgrim 5 years, 10 months ago

The only way I participate in any curbside recycling program is if I am being paid for the items being picked up. Certainly not if I am expected to pay.If the items are really being recycled, then I just provided somebody with part of the raw materials needed to make their for-profit final product. As such, I should be compensated, just like every other raw materials supplier in the world.If the items are NOT being recycled, then the nanny state advocates need to stop lying about it and tell us what they're really doing with that stuff.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

Ya think? Merrill, still wants to convert the current library to a convention center. Why not clean up the current library and use it for a library, and how about using the Carnegie Building as part of the library system. AFter all, this is about recylcling. As for a convention center, the current post office buidling would do just fine, in the event that operation is moved elsewhere. There could still be a service counter, yep, even in a Convention Center. Oh well, back to Glass, Cardboard, and Plastic. One city I am familiar with had an excellent recycling program. The city had dumpsters at city hall, the parks had dumpsters. All stuff to be recycled could be bagged together unsorted, and left at the designated places. All was well, until some on the council who must have been trained by the same dodos that get trained in this town, Curbside recycling was passed and now NONE of the apartment complexes, nor their tenants have a way to recycle,Many businesses no longer recycle because there is no place to take it. They have only dumpsters and everything is going into the. The water bill went up and less is recycled. Lawrence is supposed to be a town of learned people,but they are slow on the take. We have recycling the way it is. It works. People come from Jefferson county to Lawrence to shop and recycle at Walmart. 11th and Haskell is the best place in town. It seems nothing is ever good enough for this crapped out town, that has no leadership. It is time for the commission to state: We are not going to pursue curbside recycling as we have more important matters that we have not addressed for decades. and to merrill, no tax dolar supported parking garage until there is paid parking downtown 24 hours a day. Has merrill, ever traveled outside of this dungeon called Lawrence?

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 10 months ago

Here is a list things which cannot be effectively recycled because there is no use for them, require the waste of water to clean them before recycling, because the nearest "recycling centre" is hundreds of miles away or because there is simply no efficient infrastructure at this time to deal with the product:(1) Coloured glass (Except for brown beer bottles)(2) Dirty foil lined food containers.(3) Plastic containers with food residue.(4) Empty plastic oil or petroleum distallate containers which contain residue.(5) CRTs: these must be sent prepaid to a company in Missouri, the nearest true recycling centre for leaded glass.(6) Tires: tires must be trucked at great expence several hundred miles to the nearest "recycling" centre unless that centre is full up, in which case, you are stuck with them.(7) Empty paint cans; metal or plastic as these may contain hazardous residues.(8) Many kinds of spray cans which may contain flammable or explosive residues.(9) Old kitchen appliances, such as stoves, countertop ovens and refigerators which may contain asbestos insulation or in the case of refrigerators, Freon gas.(10) Building materials such as sheet rock, plaster board or wood which may contain leaded paint or asbestos fibre.(11) Old HVAC equipment which may contain freon or asbestos.(12) Certain kinds of paper containing metallic inks which may be toxic.(13) Old TVs as they have virtually no scrap value and cost money to recycle.Now..................................what can effectively be recycled:(1) Newsprint and most kinds of paper, although when the price is down, it will get landfilled anyway.(2) Copper, brass, bronze, steel, iron, aluminum gold and silver.(3) Aluminum cans(A separate market from ordinary scrap aluminum).(4) Some kinds of plastics.(5) Old lead-acid auto batteries.(6) Old cars. (But not the gas tanks as those contain potentially hazardous materials.)(6) Old cell phones (But not the batteries as those are toxic waste and require special treatment!)(7) Old clothes from which fibre may be taken.(8) Eggshells (Put them on your compost pile!)(9) Some kinds of electronic equipment.Well, there ya go, so knock yourselves out!Remember one word:Landfill.

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macon47 5 years, 10 months ago

I have always thought a city should provideServices that its citizens could not provide themselves.Excellent examples are fire /police protecting, street repair and snow removal.Many of us already handle our recycling needsAnd do not need the city to add another moneyPit to the list of services. We already have the T.We have fee based private resources forFolks that are to lazy to do their own recycling.The city does not need to compete with themWe have adequate drop offLocations for many different items inMost parts of the city.I feel sorry for the grass roots groups thatAre too lazy and or too cheap to handleTheir own recycling needs.But I don't feel sorry enough to takeHard earned money out of my pocketTo pay for their laziness.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by single-family housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.Developers and cars are two very expensive budget items. Both want roads. More streets = more cars = more people = more tax increases. Developers plans that consistently increase our tax liabilities instead of promoting tax reductions IS my concern:Over built retailIndustrial Sites considering many 12-14 acre sites are now available sewage treatment plant Houses - If residential growth paid for itself we might not be in a budget crunch. Increased numbers of residential create increased demand on services. Historically revenues generated by residential housing do not pay for the services they require from a municipality thus increased taxes to cover the cost of maintaining: * water and sewer lines streets public schools fire & emergency med stations law enforcement manpower snow removal cross walksTraffic ControlParksForget tax dollars,increased taxes and user fees. Legislate impact fees to cover the entire cost of all new development.Housing projects cost considerably more to maintain than a "Better T", excellent biking and walking options and a new library all of which serve the general public. A "Better T" plus walking and biking options encourage citizens to leave vehicles at home thus less abuse of expensive streets = fiscally prudent investment. 9th and New Hampshire library location makes use of a tax dollar supported parking garage = fiscally conservative approach. Converting the current library to a convention center makes use of an existing resource which is fiscally prudent rather than an expensive TIF project.

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LogicMan 5 years, 10 months ago

P.S. to Target:Your original garden center, on the south side, is sitting there relatively unused. Why not make it a recycling center? Be sure to collect all types of metals (very valuable!) -- other than aluminum, there is a lack of collection points on the south side of town.

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LogicMan 5 years, 10 months ago

Should have required the new Wal-Mart, and other new big-box stores, to have comprehensive recycling centers ...

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