Staunton makes changes to recycling program

Published: Feb. 21, 2019 at 11:27 PM EST
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On Thursday, Staunton City Council held a work session to learn more about the city's recycling program.

Back in July, there was an update about the recycling program after concerns about the changing recycling costs. During the meeting, there was a presentation by Tom Sliwoski, director of public works, about three possible options for the recycling program.

One option was getting maintaining the recycling program as is, with curbside pick-up and recycling drop-off at Gypsy Hill Park. Another option was getting rid of all recycling, and the third option was getting rid of the recycling containers at Gypsy Hill Park.

All three options involved an increase in cost, but ultimately city council members chose to close the recycling containers at Gypsy Hill Park. Maintaining the containers costs about $40,000 a year. Additionally, Sliwoski said sometimes the contents of the bins weren't able to be recycled since they had been contaminated by non-recyclables.

The city also said it's difficult to ensure only city residents are using the bins.

"We have no way to control what goes into those recycling bins, and the quality of material that goes in," Brenda Mead, city council member, said.

Mead said maintaining recycling was important to the city, and it's important to some residents as well.

"I am so blessed that I live in a community that is this in tune with this sort of an issue," Fred Blanton, a city resident, said.

But, people who call the Queen City home said there is more to recycling than just having the service.

"We probably need to stop thinking so much about recycling, and just think about elimination," Blanton said.

People at the meeting on Thursday said those changes start with education.

"The key is education," Dr. H Bruce Rinker, a Staunton resident, said. "And commit on all levels to education, especially with the little ones. Because the little ones can carry that message home."

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