Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Eye-catching garbage containers will be popping up throughout the city over the next few weeks as businesses join the green effort, making Jacksonville the first municipality in Cherokee County to do so through Allied Waste Services.
According to Allied Sales Representative Jan Chamness, nearly a dozen businesses have filled out paperwork to get the six- and eight-yard recycling bins, with more expressing interest.
“I think within the next two weeks, there probably will be a good 18-20 businesses” signed on, she said. “We have had tremendous amounts of people wanting to know when we're bringing bins in.”
Earlier this year, the city set up a single-stream recycling bin at the Royal Oaks Landfill on Heath Lane, where, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., residents can take flattened cardboard boxes, newspapers and inserts, rinsed out aluminum, tin and steel cans, rinsed metal food cans and rinsed plastic containers to the site. Only plastics one through seven are accepted, according to an Allied pamphlet.
This new effort, however, focuses on providing single-stream recycling to businesses and institutions, with the green recycling bins placed next to blue garbage containers used by these places.
“There's a growing interest from companies, and a lot has to do with people who move from other areas where it's mandatory,” as well as those who have worked for companies with a green policy, said Gene Keenon, Allied Manager of Government Affairs/Municipal Services for Allied.
“WalMart has that, and many of the larger chains mandate their stores reduce their waste by X-amount within a certain period. They have the mindset that anywhere they can help put back” into the green effort is a positive move, he said.
And Republic, Allied's parent company “is focused on recycling – this particular program was started by a local sales manager,” he said.
“It's what (business owners here) are searching for. In the past we could only offer cardboard recycling, but now that we have a material recovery facility close by, we can now offer the single-stream program.”
Single-stream recycling allows users to place all accepted recyclables in a designated container, with the contents taken by a company like Allied to a material recovery facility that separates the load into various categories of products, then cleans, processes, bundles and prepares them for shipment to other recycling plants that will convert them into usable items..
Thanks to the Rivers Recycling facility that opened last October in Kilgore, his company can now offer the program in East Texas, Keenon said.
The new project is a win-win situation all around.
“What this does is cuts back the use of landfill,” he said. “We actually operate the landfill, so naturally we get money for everything that goes into it, but this allows us to extend the life of our current landfills. And that is very important when you think of the obstacles involved in trying to get a new landfill opened in Texas today.
“In the long run, that saves us money,” Gene said.
Chamness pointed out that program participants see savings as well.
“They can arrange for a weekly Saturday pick-up (through the recycling program), rather than pay for twice-weekly pick-up of their regular trash bins,” she said. “We've offered our smaller businesses a six-yard container with pick-up every other week, which will help them because they don't have as much (trash).”
Under the recycling program no disposal fee is assessed customers.
“That's why they're cheaper,” Keenon said. Normally, trash disposal is “calculated in the price of each of the trash dumpsters. But this way, we remove the disposal fee out of that cost of their garbage container. And when they (take a recycle bin), they're able to downsize their current dumpster to a much smaller container or (cut back) on pick-up times.”
“When you reduce your regular trash (output), and there's no cost for (recyclable material) to go to the land fill, you reduce cost. This program will help every company we've talked to break even or find savings,” she said.
Another selling point, they said, is that clients can utilize the green containers as a marketing tool.
“It really is a selling point with a lot of the businesses that I've talked to, who they wanted the container placed close to the front so that their customers will see they recycle,” Keenon said.
For now, Allied's goal is for people to see the green containers and think green.
“The generation that lived through the Depression had a lifestyle of recycling and reusing, out of survival and necessity. Today, we're trying to teach this generation to recycle because it's the right thing to do. There's not as much pressure on them, so it's a little more challenging,” he said.
“With this program, we're helping commercial businesses learn how to manage their waste, save money and also help the environment by offering a convenient way for them to recycle without having to separate each type of recyclable,” Keenon said. “They only have two decisions to make: Is it garbage, or is it recyclable?”