The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 4, 2014

Chamber group supporting Joplin recycling proposal

The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network has launched its campaign to promote curbside recycling, which is subject to voter approval next month in Joplin.

Its members say the service would make recycling more convenient, as residents would be able to set their recyclable materials out with their trash instead of taking it themselves to the city’s recycling center.

“For me, it seems there are those who are extremely dedicated to recycling, and then there are those people who would love to be able to recycle, but they just are unable to fit into the small margin that the recycling center has as far as getting out there,” member Drew Kimble said. “I think a lot more people will be more motivated to recycle if the effort is made a little less.”

The question of whether the city of Joplin should start offering a residential curbside recycling service through its current contracted trash-pickup provider, Republic Services, will be on the April 8 ballot.

If approved, the service would accept office paper, telephone books, newspaper and magazines, cardboard, metal cans and plastic bottles to be recycled. Trash, soiled paper and glass are among the materials not accepted as recyclable.

The service would add a monthly recycling fee of $3.03 to residents’ trash bills, which would be assessed regardless of whether the service is used.

City Attorney Brian Head said the proposal needs a simple majority to pass. He said the ordinance providing for the recycling service would become effective upon passage of the proposal, which will be called Proposition A on the ballot.

“If it’s approved by the voters, it will go into effect, but the council has the ability to amend it if they need to,” he said. “If the council decides to cancel it or change it (at a later date), they can.”

In its campaign, which will consist of a push in local media and in different businesses, the Young Professionals Network said the recycling service would reduce household waste and help conserve resources.

When asked about the fee, which essentially requires that residents pay to recycle, Kimble said he thinks the amount is negligible.

“What do we have in our everyday life that could be cut out if you’re worried about having to pay an extra $3.03 per month? Maybe a latte, one meal, one drink,” he said. “I think the extra three dollars to be able to participate in recycling and help keep down the amount of garbage that’s going into the landfill seems like a small price to pay.”

The group is backed by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, of which it is a branch.

“Members of the Young Professionals Network agreed that curbside recycling is the next step Joplin can take to build on its current recycling efforts,” chamber President Rob O’Brian said in a statement released Tuesday. “We support their efforts in this campaign and will continue to encourage young professionals in our community to take an active role in shaping the future of the region.”

Discussions for curbside recycling in Joplin began as long ago as 2006. The initiative resurfaced after the 2011 tornado, when residents involved with the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team said it was a service they favored.

After defeating the initiative earlier in 2013, the City Council last June revived it and decided to place it on the upcoming ballot after publicly hearing from a handful of residents who supported implementing the service.

The city said it would not make money on recyclables if voters approve curbside recycling, arguing that the cost-saving measure in adopting the service would be the “avoided cost” of dumping trash in a landfill, which could keep future trash costs low. It said the trash provider could receive payment for some materials and pay a fee for delivering others.

The city also has said the recycling center, 1310 W. A St., would remain open to accept additional recyclable materials such as glass, batteries, electronics and cooking oil.

Cost breakdown

The monthly $3.03 fee for curbside recycling in Joplin would cover the trash provider’s transportation and staffing expenses, tipping fees and recycling bins, according to information provided by the city.

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