With less than two weeks to go before the borough’s recycling program begins, more than half of residential customers have signed up.
As of Tuesday morning, 630 people signed up for the program, roughly 57 percent of total residential customers.
According to a report Public Works Director Karl Hagerman presented to the borough assembly in October, the community needs to increase its recycling rate to at least 30 percent—roughly 760 tons of material—to pay for the program. The more the community recycles, the less the borough has to pay for solid waste disposal.
And if more than half the community recycles, a goal Hagerman wants to achieve within seven years, the borough would save more than $100,000 a year in solid waste disposal. He said it costs 66 percent more to dispose of solid waste on barges than it does to transport recyclable materials down south.
But Hagerman said he can’t track that data by the total number of customers who choose to recycle.
“The local recycling goals are tied to the weight of material that is removed from the overall waste stream in Petersburg,” Hagerman said. “Because of that, I will have no idea of the community recycling rate and the impacts to savings until time goes by and we can accrue the data from the waste and recycling shipments out of Petersburg.”
If residents sign up after this week, they will need to pick up recycling bags from the public works or the finance buildings.
According to the sanitation ordinance, the sanitation department will increase rates by 20 percent for 32 gallon customers who choose not to recycle in order to offset costs for the program.
“This program will take some time to prove itself out, but with the sign ups that we have seen so far, I believe that we will see a large jump in the recycling weights sent out of Petersburg and therefore a significant reduction in solid waste disposal costs,” Hagerman said.
Residents can begin recycling on their trash collection day beginning the week of February 3.