SYRACUSE -- The idea of a curbside recycling program has come up again, with the same results as the last time: it's a good idea, but don't expect any immediate changes.
A portion of a recent city council work session was devoted to the concept of curbside recycling, for the second time this year. Scott Pepper, a former Provo city official who now works for Rocky Mountain Recycling of South Salt Lake, talked about the merits of an opt-out recycling program and the impact it could have on the city's future.
Besides saving space in the landfill, Pepper said, the city could profit by offering a program to recycle paper, glass, cardboard and other items. Because almost 45 percent of city residents have two garbage cans, he estimates some residents could also save on costs by being part of such a program. He urged officials to consider an opt-out program that would include all residents except those choosing not to participate.
Council members also received almost 200 letters from students discussing the merits of recycling. The city does offer a green-waste program but has not signed a contract with its waste hauler to pick up other recyclables at the curb.
Council members agreed on the importance of recycling but differed on how it should be implemented.
Councilwoman Karianne Lisbonee wants to see the city newsletter used to outline all recycling options available to residents.
Councilman Brian Duncan said he favors recycling, but he doesn't like the idea of letters from children being used to push one point of view.
"We're teaching kids what to think, not how to think. If that's not the case, then clearly the next generation will choose to recycle," Duncan said. He said he favors leaving the option to private industry.
Councilman Craig Johnson said recycling services are already available to residents who want them in the city, through private companies.
Councilman Doug Peterson said nobody wants to be told what to do by government, but he said government should help provide opportunities to do things that aren't available. He favored an opt-out program.
Mayor Jamie Nagle said she hopes the city will move toward a curbside recycling program at some point.
City Manager Bob Rice and Pepper both emphasized how important it is to curb the city's current waste stream to extend the life of the landfill in Layton. Rice said:
"We are a partner and part owner of that landfill. We will pay if we don't do something to extend the life of the landfill."