A public-private plan is the best way for Lawrence to try to increase curbside recycling in the city.
City officials have taken a comprehensive look at many options for curbside recycling and collected information on how a number of other communities have handled the issue. Tonight, city commissioners will consider a recommendation from the city’s Sustainability Advisory Board to implement a public-private pilot program to try to increase local curbside recycling.
Recycling services still would be provided by private companies, but the city would step in to register and promote those services to local residents through a “Lawrence DOES have curbside” outreach campaign. Part of the campaign would be to provide information about private recycling companies that have registered with the city. Companies that register would have to provide information about their services and how they handle the materials they pick up, giving the city modest oversight of their operations.
The plan has several advantages over a city-operated service. Residents who want a curbside recycling service can choose one that suits their needs. Those who choose not to recycle or to take their own materials to recycling centers wouldn’t have to pay for a service they didn’t use. And taxpayers won’t have to take responsibility for a service that already is being handled quite nicely by private enterprise.
The city has a stake in encouraging people to recycle because the more they recycle, the less trash goes into the city landfill. The public-private partnership is a great way to encourage recycling efforts in the city while supporting private services and the residents who choose to use them.