Recycling comes with a price tag

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By Carolyn Roy, Carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

If City residents want to keep backdoor pickup of recycling, it will come at a cost. According to four proposals the City Council is considering for renewal of the new garbage contract, keeping backdoor pickup of recycling will cost $4.88 more per month for residences and $7.07 more per month for commercial customers. The current contract provides for one time per week pickup for trash pick and recycling. The carts are taken to the street and returned to the backdoor of homes or businesses. The current rate is $19.82 per month for residences and will increase to $24.70. The current rate for businesses is $34.48 to and will increase $42.55 per month.

The council presented three other options, none of which include collecting recycling. They include collecting the garbage and recycling carts holding only trash with the carts being returned to the backdoor; taking carts to the street with residents returning them to the backdoor; and residents taking carts to the street and turning them to the backdoor. Mayor Lee Posey said the problem is the declining market for recycled goods with the only desirable items being paper, cardboard and plastic. Posey cited a second problem, that of the low participation rate in Natchitoches.

According to James “Bugs” Veuleman, district manager for Waste Connections, only 3 percent of the company’s 6,942 Natchitoches customers recycle. Veuleman said Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Leesville, New Orleans and Lafayette do not have backdoor pickup of recycling. Natchitoches is the only City that Waste Connections serves that has backdoor collection. City Councilman Eddie Harrington said the option appears to be getting rid of backdoor collection but not eliminating recycling. “It’s my understanding, we’re not getting rid of recycling,” Harrington said.

Waste Connections District Manager James “Bugs” Veuleman said only three percent of 6,942 Natchitoches customers recycle.

He suggested putting more recycling bins at the City property on Mill Street. Posey said the City could also possibly accept recycling on Saturday mornings. Posey recognized that the additional approximately $5 could be a hardship on those on fixed incomes. “Some can’t afford and additional $5-6 a month is what we must consider.” He also said that if the participation rate did not increase, that amount could increase by $8 or $10 per month. The council is expected to vote on the option sometime after the next two meetings.