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City recycling goes full time

Xavier Smith • May 1, 2018 at 7:34 PM

The Lebanon recycling program is set to become a full-time program after the Lebanon City Council approved the switch from a pilot program on first reading during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

If approved, the city will add one driver position, sanitation truck and movement of one position to recycling for the program, which is expected to cost about $34,500 annually after customer fees.

Currently, the program is in a pilot state with suggestions aimed at disbanding the pilot and program entirely or creating a full-time program in some capacity. Residents can get their recycling picked up twice a month for $15 a month currently.

The program started with around 140 customers and currently has more than 400 customers. However, participation remains sporadic throughout the city, with some wards at double and triple the number of participants than in other wards.

Sarah Haston, Lebanon economic development director, created a social media survey about the program to complement an email survey created by Lebanon Public Works Director Jeff Baines.

The group discussed the survey results last month. More than 550 residents responded to the survey, with 385 of those responders identifying as recycling customers, while 159 said they were interested in the program and 19 responded they had no interest in the program.

 “I appreciate this moving forward. A lot of people in Ward 4 have contacted me wanting the recycling program to continue from the pilot status to the full-time status,” Councilor Chris Crowell said. “If we don’t do something to start addressing the situation in terms of what we’re going to be dumping in landfills moving forward and develop a plan, we’re going to catch ourselves behind the 8-ball.”

Baines said Murfreesboro councilors recently voted not to expand the city’s landfill, which could create a dilemma for many municipalities that dump at the landfill, including Lebanon.

“It is a reality down the road in 6-8 years,” Baines said.

“I believe this vote shows how we’re trying to stay ahead,” Councilor Tick Bryan said. “This is going to be a huge benefit when everybody starts catching up and catching on to this and signing up.”

“I just started recycling. Like everybody else who starts recycling, the first thing you notice is the amount of garbage that actually goes into your garbage can is less than half of what it was before you started recycling,” Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash said. “Recycling is going to happen. I don’t know when, but we’re all going to be recycling before this thing ends.”

The Lebanon Sanitation Department picked up the single-stream recycling service after local business Green Monster decided to close its doors in May 2016.

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