While response to the Rim country's new curbside recycling program has been positive, Arizona Recycling Curbside Specialists' president Tyler Tabar said, his company "still needs a couple hundred more sign-ups to make this really viable."
The program, which is slated to begin Nov. 13, recently received an enthusiastic response from the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Tyler and Dick Tabar attended our last meeting and explained what their purpose was and how the program will work, and we enthusiastically welcomed them to the community," said Tom Kaleta, chamber CEO. "We were especially happy to learn how much it would ease pressure on our landfills."
The environmental advantages to the program are considerable, Tabar said.
"There is no question that Rim country landfills will last a lot longer," he said. "The average home generates approximately eight to 10 pounds of recyclables a week, and that doesn't count newspapers.
"When you do the math, if 4,000 homes participate in the program, which is what we eventually hope to have, that works out to 16 tons that will be diverted from your landfills each and every week."
That, Kaleta said, will make a big difference. "Because of government regulations, the cost of closing a landfill is almost beyond the capability of this area to do," he said. "This program is going to buy us a few more years before we have to face that problem, and that's a tremendous benefit to the taxpayers at a fair price."
The cost to participate in the curbside recycling program,which is endorsed by the Town of Payson, is $19.20 per year.
But although the program is town-endorsed, it's open to residents throughout the Rim country.
"We will go everywhere in the Rim country, including modular home parks and apartment buildings and other multi-family housing," he said.
Participating residents will put newspapers, magazines and junk mail in clear recycling bags and bottles, cans, aluminum and plastics in blue recycling bags.
When the bags are removed each week by ARCS, new bags will be left for the following week. Pick-ups will take place on the same day as participants' regular trash pick-up, but smaller vans and trucks will be utilized.
Kaleta also noted that ARCS, a company based in the Valley, has agreed to open a local office in the Rim country and to pay above-average wages plus benefits.
"They also agreed to pay their drivers for eight hours, even if they finish their routes early," he said.
ARCS branched off from an Indiana company that has provided recycling services since 1989. It specializes in providing recycling services for multi-housing developments and in providing tailor-made programs to fit the needs of both large and small communities.
Once the residential program is up and running in the Rim country, ARCS plans to introduce other programs.
"We'll be offering a separate program for businesses that will reduce their trash hauling costs," Tabar said.
The Town of Payson also has applied for a grant that will allow it to hold an annual household hazardous products collection day, tentatively scheduled for May 6 at Wal-Mart.
"If and when that happens," Town of Payson Public Works Director Buzz Walker said, "the town will have gone about as far as it can in the area of recycling.
"Considering that until July 1, when we introduced our mixed-paper recycling bins, we had nothing, we've come a long way in a very short time frame," he said. "And we hope this program will take some of the pressure off those paper bins."
Rim country residents interested in signing up for the curbside recycling program can call ARCS at (480) 759-1437 or send checks for $19.20, along with their phone numbers, to ARCS, 16443 S. 43rd St., Phoenix, AZ 85048.
The Town of Payson is still providing educational presentations on the new program at local schools and for other groups and organizations upon request. To schedule a presentation, call Jeff Durbin at 474-5242, ext. 2379.