By Conrad Dudderar
It would cost about $927,000 to start a citywide curbside recycling service in Yukon and then some $290,500 annually to sustain the program.
Yukon Public Works Director Arnold Adams shared these projected expenses as part of a recycling report presented during the March 21st Yukon City Council work session.
Some citizens have asked Yukon city officials to look into starting a curbside recycling service like the City of Oklahoma City provides all its utility customers.
Council members heard a detailed presentation about a proposed Yukon curbside recycling program, but no action has been taken.
To provide all City of Yukon households with curbside recycling, Adams told council members the utility bill increase would be $2.78 per month – or $33.36 per year to cover the program’s costs.
Estimated curbside recycling start-up costs for the first year would be:
- 8,687 poly carts (for every utility customer) – $439,128
- Automated side load (ASL) truck – $294,094
- Truck driver salary and benefits – $65,000
- Diesel fuel expense (11,993 miles) – $20,988
- Community education/outreach – $8,500
- Disposal cost for commingled material (1,526 tons) – $99,223
“It would be $926,932 to get started,” Adams said. “If we were to start up today, it may be 12 to 18 months before we could even get a truck.
“The following year, we would need to purchase 1,231 poly carts … to replace broken and lost, and for new customers. And then every year, we’d need to put money aside because that truck has a seven-year lifespan.”
Yukon’s public works director estimates it would take $290,451.27 annually to sustain a curbside recycling program. Here is a breakdown of estimated annual recurring costs:
- 1,231 poly carts – $62,227
- ASL truck – $42,013.43
- Truck driver salary and benefits – $65,000
- Diesel fuel expense – $20,988
- Community education/outreach – $1,000
- Disposal cost – $99,223
Adams emphasized the volatility of fuel and disposal costs.
If the City of Yukon only offered curbside recycling to utility customers who “opted in”, some 4,800 households would be needed to pay $5 monthly to break even.
The City of Yukon has an unmanned recycling center near the front entrance to the city’s transfer station, 501 Ash.
When the gates are open, Yukon residents are welcome to drop off recyclables (plastics, cardboard, glass, aluminum, etc.) in separate bins.
Yukon recycler Jenny Davis fills a contractor-size trash bag at least once a month in a large trash can inside her garage.
“Right now, I’m only doing plastic because I think it’s probably the worst for the environment,” Davis told the Yukon City Council. “And I have a lot more of it than anything else.
“You can only recycle plastic so many times, but you can recycle aluminum an infinite amount of times.”
Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby said more people are starting to use glass bottles – which they clean and reuse – instead of plastic.
“Because recycling is expensive; it costs money to do that,” Selby said. “So, we need to educate the people on multi-use.”
In closing, Davis said the City of Yukon could apply for a national grant to purchase recycling poly carts – thus reducing the cost.
SURVEY: 90% WANT CURBSIDE
Last fall, about 700 Yukon utility customers completed a survey featuring 12 questions about participation in recycling in interest in having a curbside service.
“That’s about 8% of our utility bill accounts,” Assistant to the City Manager Jason Beal said at the March 21st council work session.
Among survey respondents, 66.39% of the households now recycle and 55.5% use the Yukon Recycling Center.
Some 539 residents filled out the recycling survey included on a utility bill insert and returned it to Yukon city offices. The other 163 people competing the survey online.
Here are other highlights of the Yukon recycling study:
- 90.1% of respondents want the City of Yukon to have curbside recycling, with 92.3% saying they would participate if the service was free to Yukon.
- 57.9% of respondents would participate in Yukon curbside recycling if they could “opt in” for a monthly fee on their utility bill.
- Of those 412 respondents, 70.2% would be willing to pay a $5 fee, 29.4% would pay a $5-$10 fee and 5.6% would pay a $10-$15 fee.
- Among those who would participate in a Yukon curbside recycling program, 26.6% would like their recycling poly cart picked up once weekly, 48.9% twice monthly and 24.5% once monthly.
- 93.3% of respondents are motivated to recycle because “it’s good for the environment. Other reasons cited are “it’s easy and convenient for me” (34.5%), “it’s my civic duty” (48.9%), “I’m concerned about landfill space” (78.5%), and “my children encourage me to recycle” (14.3%).
- Among current Yukon Recycling Center users, 19.2% use the facility once weekly, 31.7% twice monthly and 49.1% once monthly.
- 13.5% deliver less than one bag of recyclables, 28.2% deliver one-two bags, 33.9% deliver three-four bags, 13.4% deliver five-six bags, and 10.9% deliver more than six bags.
- 83% of respondents would like the City of Yukon to better educate residents on what can be recycled and how not to contaminate recycling – even if curbside recycling is not offered.