WEST VALLEY CITY West Valley City is planning to get a little greener this March.
Starting March 3, residents who subscribe to the city's garbage service will soon see a new, blue bin in their driveways and an extra $3.30 on their monthly bill. Like it or not, it's all part of a mandatory new program that provides curbside recycling for every resident in the city, no matter what their ecological view point is.
"We're depending on a lot of people to help us to do this right, but if we do it right, and I feel we will, we will save a lot of money and a lot of resources," said West Valley Councilwoman Carolynn Burt. "I think this is a wonderful alternative we've come upon to do this."
Burt was one of 600 residents out of 26,000 households who used to subscribe to the city's optional recycling service. Because so few people subscribed to the service, City Council members were considering canceling the program or increasing subscription costs.
At the same time, the city's basic monthly garbage pickup charge of $10 for one can and $6.45 for a second can was falling short of the cost of the service. Instead of just hiking the price for garbage pickup, the council decided to add recycling to the regular service with an increased fee that would even out the losses the city had been facing.
Ordering a second garbage can will still cost $6.45 a month, but in the long run, city officials say the change could actually save residents money by reducing the amount of garbage they throw away.
"There's no question that the costs (for regular garbage services) would increase anyway, but a majority of people that take two cans have the chance to save money," City Manager Wayne Pyle said.
The recycling service will come every other week on regular garbage pickup days, but residents who don't use their recycling bins properly will be regulated. The disposal trucks have cameras that will record if recycling bins have unacceptable material so the city will know which households are not following the guidelines.
"We'll leave a notice on people's cans asking them to be more careful," West Valley City Operations Manager Phil Markham said of the city's options for enforcement. "If they're not putting the right materials into the can they can be excluded from participating in the program, but ... the monthly charge doesn't change. They'll still be paying the $13.30 a month."
The new garbage/recycling fee will put West Valley City in second place, behind South Jordan, for most expensive services in Salt Lake County, but Burt says the change is a necessary step for the city."We just really, truly figured this is the right thing to do at the right time," Burt said. "We're actually a little slow in reaching that (conclusion), compared with other cities, but I'm glad we're catching them."
Acceptable items for recycling
• Paper: brochures, catalogs, computer paper, junk mail, newspaper, telephone books, wrapping paper, magazines
• Plastics: No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, clear and colored bottles, milk jugs, plastic containers, soda bottles, laundry jugs and bottles, etc.
• Cardboard: cereal boxes, drink cartons, paper bags
• Metal: aluminum cans, aluminum foil, tin cansMore information on what can be recycled can be found at www.wvc-ut.gov/recycling