BOUNTIFUL — Curbside recycling here had a rocky road to inception in December of 2008.
The city council approved the program in a split vote after wrestling with the issue for years.
The contentious vote came after the city had surveyed residents about the issue. In that informal poll, residents said they didn’t want mandatory recycling.
However, Mayor Joe Johnson championed the issue, bringing new dark blue cans for discarded paper, aluminum cans and plastic bottles to every home in the city.
By the end of June of this year, city residents were putting about 12 percent of their waste, by weight, to these cans rather than sending it to the city landfill, which is quickly filling up. In some months, as much as one-fifth of garbage is diverted, according to data from Waste Management, which collects the garbage and recyclables.
“The way the economy is set up, it’s a pretty effective program and I think what it’s doing is its teaching younger kids to be conscious about separating out recyclables,” said City Engineer Paul Rowland.
The Waste Management figures exclude green waste, which the city collects separately at the landfill before chopping, repackaging and selling it as compost fertilizer. That program has proved even more effective at diverting landfill waste than has curbside recycling, Rowland said.