Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2011

Basehor residents’ recycling totals 100 tons in first six months of curbside service

August 11, 2011

Six months after Basehor began to receive curbside recycling service for the first time, residents’ participation is tipping the scales.

By the end of July, Deffenbaugh Industries had collected more than 100 tons of recyclables from Basehor residences since curbside recycling began in February, city clerk Corey Swisher said. Tim Coffman, a senior vice president at Deffenbaugh, said participation has only increased since the program’s introduction. Meanwhile, participation in local recycling fundraising programs has been affected little if at all, organizers said.

Swisher said Deffenbaugh was collecting an average of 5 to 6 pounds of recyclables per week from each residence. About 1,640 residences receive trash service from the city, he said.

Coffman said early curbside recycling participation in Basehor was typical of a community receiving the service for the first time. Deffenbaugh tends to collect more and more recyclables from each community over time, he said, and there's already evidence that participation is increasing in Basehor. In the year’s second quarter alone, from April to June, Deffenbaugh collected more than 68 tons of recyclable material in Basehor, he said.

“It gets to the point eventually, in pretty short order really, that people embrace this,” Coffman said.

Basehor Mayor Terry Hill supported the addition of curbside recycling, which was approved as part of a contract with Deffenbaugh in a December Basehor City Council decision, after he said residents frequently asked him about adding the service. He said he'd heard nothing but positive comments about the service since it was introduced, and he was proud to have helped it begin.

“We recycle and we didn't before,” Hill said of his family, “and that's the story I've heard from some of my neighbors.”

City council member Iris Dysart was the lone member to vote against the contract with Deffenbaugh in December, saying she was concerned about the extra $2 monthly cost for each residence to add the recycling service and about the cart system used for collection. She said she'd heard some complaints from residents, mostly about difficulties using the carts, soon after the program's introduction, but had not heard any comments about it since.

Coffman said the extra $2 cost for recycling was typical compared with what Deffenbaugh charged other communities. He said the collection of recycling added to the Kansas City, Kan.,-based company's costs, and though the company is able to defray those costs by selling the recyclable goods, prices for those goods tend to vary widely.

“We're kind of at the mercy of the commodities market,” Coffman said.

Swisher said a few residents had expressed worries that local recycling fundraising programs would be affected by the curbside program. The Basehor-Linwood school district and the Basehor Parks Association both use recycling programs as fundraisers. Neither program has experienced much effect on its participation since Basehor's curbside service began.

Basehor-Linwood Superintendent David Howard said the district had collected slightly less recyclable material at each of its schools since the curbside service began. The district sells the goods to Deffenbaugh to raise funds.

The effect on the schools' program has been very small, Howard said, and is outweighed by the benefits of the curbside program.

“In our mind, it's good for the community,” Howard said.

Many of the people who bring recyclables to the schools live outside the city limits, Howard noted.

Basehor city superintendent Gene Myracle said the aluminum can collections from the bin near the Basehor VFW Post building on 155th Street had not fallen at all since the curbside program began. Myracle said the city still collected roughly 1,000 pounds of goods from the bin roughly each six weeks. Proceeds from the cans go toward the Basehor Park Association.

Coffman said the participation in the curbside program should be a source of pride for Basehor residents.

“What’s important to note is, that’s 100 tons of material in a six-month period that otherwise could have been put in a landfill and now isn’t,” Coffman said.

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