To the editor:
In response to the article on curbside recycling, as a waste management professional and an advocate for city-sponsored curbside, I'd like to offer a different perspective.
Cost estimates given by city staff for curbside recycling are based on a controversial 2004 report that was not vetted by the Recycling Advisory Board prior to its release. These figures, repeated in the article, presume the most expensive recycling option: building a city-owned and operated materials recovery facility (MRF). Assessment of other options - contracting with local or regional providers for curbside, comingled collection or creating a program which transfers processing to another community's MRF - have never been fully examined by the City.
For over a decade, the city's Solid Waste Division has opposed and obstructed real consideration of city-sponsored curbside recycling, in spite of continued citizen calls for change. A new vision is long overdue.
Lawrence needs comprehensive, integrated solid waste management planning done with data, not bias. A pay-as-you-throw, variable rate system for residential waste disposal could provide significant incentive to recycle more and waste less.
The statement that "no community has ever mandated curbside recycling until their landfill is full" is just plain false. While recycling certainly extends landfill space, no sane community is going to wait until its landfill is full to implement curbside recycling.
According to a recent study done by the Institute for Local Self Reliance, over 139 million Americans have curbside recycling. It's time for the City of Lawrence to get serious about recycling.