Henderson council votes to implement a citywide recycling program

Promoting an easier recycling program, Henderson is expected to change its trash and recycling pick up services to a weekly schedule starting in fall 2013.

"If we are committed to being America's premier community, clearly sustainable practices are a priority," City Councilwoman Debra March said. "Recycling is a priority."

Since Dec. 9, 2010, the city has tested 25,000 homes with a pilot program. The program replaced the three recycling bins with one receptacle that is either 35 gallons, 65 gallons or 95 gallons. The recycling bin and trash were picked up once a week.

The current system picks up trash twice a week and recycling every other week.

At a March 6 meeting, the City Council voted 5-0 to implement the pilot program citywide at no additional cost to residents.

Members of the Citizens' Advisory Committee, a group that reports to the City Council about community development, evaluated recycling for the past eight months through community meetings, an online survey and the Contact Henderson program.

The online survey sought input from all Henderson residents from October 2011 to February.

Of the 177 responses the city received, 81 responses were from participants of the program; 85 percent were happy with recycling, and 79 percent were satisfied with trash services. Of the 96 responses from people not participating in the program, 56 percent supported it .

In February, the city released the results of another survey that was conducted by the Cannon Survey Center at UNLV. That survey determined the satisfaction levels of those specifically in the pilot program. According to the results, 96.4 percent found the carts easier to use than the three recycling bins.

From its assessment, the committee recommended that the city adopt the program. It cited benefits such as improved sustainability, increased recycling without increased costs, cleaner neighborhoods and more convenient recycling.

At the meeting, 16 people, some voicing concerns and some offering praise, spoke on the topic.

The top concerns revolved around odor, frequency of trash pickups and seniors not being able-bodied enough to move the bins.

"By reducing garbage pick up to once a week, you're condemning seniors to live with two very large bins in our garages," one audience member said.

People in favor of the program said it was easy to adjust to, were excited about the city's commitment to being more sustainable and commended Henderson for its leadership in implementing this program.

Bob Coyle, vice president of public affairs and government relations for Republic Services, attended the meeting and said the company offers extra assistance for seniors with disabilities.

"They have the ability to get a letter from Republic Services that they are unable to take the trash out," Coyle said. "They have to have their doctor sign off on it."

All who qualify can leave their bins and trash outside their garage door. When picking up trash or recycling, drivers will roll bins down, dump the contents, then roll the receptacles back to the garage.

Before the program rolls out, Republic Services is slated to provide an orientation outreach program and an annual recycling report.

Coyle added that Republic Services wouldn't be able to implement the new pickup program sooner because it doesn't have all the necessary equipment to start.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.