Low recycling rates vex Savannah City Council | savannahnow.com


Low recycling rates vex Savannah City Council | savannahnow.com

The Savannah City Council is pressing for increased promotional efforts to boost participation in the city’s residential recycling program after learning only 35-40 percent of households are taking part almost five years after the service began.

“Everybody has an opportunity to participate, but some choose not to,” said Gene Prevatt, Sanitation Bureau chief.

Prevatt’s comments came as Mayor Edna Jackson and city aldermen prepared to pass a budget that includes increased sanitation rates for residents to help cover the cost of a $17 million landfill expansion.

About 78 percent of the city’s waste stream goes to the landfill, which stands to run out of capacity in about five years, Prevatt said during the budget workshop. About 8 percent is diverted by recycling, which amounts to about 28 days of the landfill’s lifespan, he said.

The council pressed staff to increase educational and promotional efforts to get the participation rates up.

“We can improve on that and make more money,” said Alderwoman Mary Ellen Sprague.

The city is paid $15 per ton for recycled materials through a 10-year agreement with a private processor, Pratt Industries, but only about $800,000 is raised for the $1.4 million program. Almost $600,000 of that revenue is generated by the $1 monthly fee all residents pay for the service.

Alderman Tony Thomas said the city may need to consider mandating that residents participate.

“I think the things that cost us money, we’re going to have to look at very closely,” Thomas said.

Low recycling rates vex Savannah City Council | savannahnow.com

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