Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sun Valley talks trash

City evaluates garbage collection, recycling

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley City Council wants its city to be a little greener.

On Monday, June 12, city officials pondered whether they should require all of the city's citizens and businesses to recycle.

The recycling discussion stemmed from larger deliberations on renewing options for the city's garbage collection service. Officials decided a mandatory recycling program must be incorporated into the city's practices to maximize recycling efforts.

At the special council meeting, elected officials directed city staffers to initiate the competitive bid process. Through the bid process, garbage collection providers will outline the details of new trash collection services that could include mandatory recycling programs. The council might take action in August.

Presently, every single-family residence in Sun Valley pays for a monthly garbage pickup. Residents may either use 68-gallon or 95-gallon trash containers. All residences pay $46.71 per quarter for the service.

The council discussed the feasibility of a "pay-as-you-throw" option to minimize waste. Essentially, residents who produce more waste would pay more. Under such a program, the city could establish a fee system that increases for collection according to the size of the trash container. Environmental Resource Center Executive Director Craig Barry said the pay-as-you-throw system offers direct financial incentives that encourage communities to minimize the amount of trash.

The city currently offers residents recycling for a $4.95 fee per quarter. Of Sun Valley's 700 single-family residences, 225, or 34 percent, participate in the recycling program. Businesses are not required to recycle. City Administrator Virgina Egger said a mandatory recycling program would require Sun Valley Co. to recycle.

Councilman Nils Ribi said the city should offer incentives for its citizens to recycle, to downsize, and to recycle yard waste and Christmas trees. He also suggested placing a community recycling bin in the city. The city has two community trash bins, for excess garbage. They are located at City Hall and in Elkhorn Village.

Details of specific changes to Sun Valley's trash collection service will be available later this summer.

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