Andrea Lombardo

Andrea Lombardo lives within city limits and uses the Moab recycling center. The Moab City Council will make a decision on whether to make single-stream recycling mandatory for city residents. The public has an opportunity to speak directly to the council about recycling on Feb. 12. [Courtesy photo]

You can speak your mind on recycling on Tuesday, Feb. 12, during the “Citizens to be Heard” portion of the Moab City Council meeting.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council’s chambers at 217 E. Center St.

If you have a strong opinion about the council’s new motion to implement mandatory residential recycling, this is your chance to voice your feelings directly to the council before it takes a vote.

Up to 2,600 residences could be affected by the new law. If passed, each Moab household would have a 65- or 95-gallon curbside recycling bin collected once every two weeks and would be required to pay a fee for recycling.

Whether or not it becomes mandatory, single-stream recycling is moving forward in the community, with city-contracted hauler Monument Waste Services picking up new customers and purchasing Green Solutions, a private company that has provided recycling services.

Monument Waste is expanding the types of materials residents are able to recycle with its single-stream model. With single-stream recycling, residents don’t have to sort the recyclable materials as it is all placed into the one bin for collection. While this program is now available for all residents in Grand County on a voluntary basis, the City of Moab is considering whether to make recycling mandatory within city limits. For residents who currently only pay for trash collection, the mandatory recycling will increase their monthly waste-collection bills from approximately $17 to about $30.

The City of Moab says mandatory recycling would help the city meet its carbon reduction goals.

“It is estimated that the hauling, disposal, and storage of unrecycled material within the Moab city accounts for approximately 10 to 12 percent of the city’s overall greenhouse gas emission,” states a memorandum to city council from Moab City Manager David Everitt.

Last year when the Moab recycling center began to limit the types of materials it gathers and delivers to processing centers, it left many residents feeling disappointed by having to throw away previously recyclable items. However, it is starting to be able to accept more items again.

Andrea Lombardo of Moab is in favor of recycling. She takes her recyclables to the recycling center to dispose of the items free of charge.

“It’s very close to my home and quite organized now,” she said. “It’s easy to get rid of these things there. However the recycling center does not take everything and I struggle with that part because I end up throwing things away. The clamshells that you get your salad mix in at the grocery store, I tend not to even buy these products because I would rather not throw the clamshells in the trash.”

Monument Waste, through its single-stream collection program, also cannot collect clamshell containers, but it is taking more previously non-recyclable items like glass, paper products and colored plastics. Residents who sign up for this service will no longer have to sort their own recycling and drop it off at the recycling center.

“We are receiving outstanding response to our announcement that curbside single-stream recycling is now available city and county wide,” Monument Waste shared on social media recently. “You’re definitely keeping our phones busy with new sign ups for our March 1 start date. Keep it coming, we appreciate your interest and support.”

Sara Melnicoff, founder and director of Moab Solutions, has been vocal as to her concerns over the council’s new proposal, particularly that the materials collected could become too contaminated and will be shipped to overseas markets instead of recycled domestically. She said she will be attending the meeting on Feb. 12 to have her voice heard on the issue.

“We need to keep our local center open, continue offering a free drop off for anyone wanting to bring items that the center accepts,” Melnicoff said.

Moab City Council member Mike Duncan said at the Jan. 22 meeting on the proposal that if any members of the public “present a compelling case” during the “Citizen’s to be Heard” portion of the Feb. 12 meeting “to say ‘hey, you guys are doing the wrong thing,’” by implementing mandatory recycling, then he would change his vote to oppose the new law. But he doesn’t expect to, he said, without public input.

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