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January 24, 2013

City may take over curbside recycling

NORMAN — Norman’s five-year history of curbside recycling is under the microscope this month. City council members and utilities staff on Tuesday discussed the service. Whether they recycle or not, residents pay an extra $3 a month on utility bills.

Voters approved the service in 2007 and it started in March 2008. About 50 percent of the customers regularly participated the first year, but that’s now fallen to less than 40 percent on a good month.

Council members rebid the contract in November with proposals received from Waste Management, Republic and from the city itself. The city’s own bid is about mid-way between the other two.

Another study session is in order to reach an agreement, but it appears the city may try to take over the service. (They already get the service calls, so they may as well take it over.) It would involve some capital investment on the part of the city in trucks and special polycarts.

Future curbside recycling could include bi-weekly service with a large, polycart that can hold more items. We hope to some day see cardboard as part of curbside pickup. Currently, residents can take their cardboard to any of the three recycling centers. We suggest council members also find a way to include apartments in the mix. It could add to the recycling stream and keep more materials out of the landfill, which was one of the goals when voters approved the measure in 2007.

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