Lebanon city officials discussed the next steps for the city’s recycling program Thursday at a Lebanon City Council work session.
A recent grant agreement allows the city $16,000 to put toward education about recycling and composting. With a recycling program already in place, the city will focus on both getting the word out about the curbside recycling pickup and educating the public on good recycling habits. The city’s team will begin the effort at the start of 2019 with outreach to local media and civic organizations, as well as knocking on doors in favorable areas to talk to residents face to face about recycling.
The city began its recycling program in 2016 and currently has 665 participants.
“We hope this grant project will help that bump up. That’s the whole purpose is to educate people in the community and hopefully when we’re sitting here talking about his in June or July that 600 will be higher. We’ll see,” said public works director Jeff Baines.
The Lebanon recycling program is single stream, meaning that all recyclables go in the same container, which is picked up every other week by the city’s sanitation department. The recyclables are then transported to the Waste Management facility in Nashville. The recycling program accepts cardboard, plastics, paper and aluminum. Program participants pay $15 a month on their utility bill for the service.
For the city, recycling comes at an expense.
“People are still under the opinion that we are making money with recycling,” said Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash. “Not true. It’s costing us money to recycle, but it’s still the right thing to do.”
Labor to pick up the goods and travel to take the goods to Nashville are balanced out by the $15 a month fee for residents. Waste Management also charges a fee by the ton for recyclables, which has recently more than doubled, according to Baines. The city takes about 2.8 tons to Waste Management each week.
“It was a $15 fee, and it’s a $37 fee now, they say because of the contamination. We’re doing the single source, but they have to sort it. That’s why they’re raising the fee on us, because they’re having to go through and sort out the bad stuff,” Baines said.
Recyclables are often rejected because of food waste, but officials hope the grant-funded education will increase awareness of responsible recycling, as well as increase the number of residents who choose to recycle in Lebanon.
The Lebanon City Council will meet for its regular meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall, 200 N. Castle Heights.