Town May Partner With County For Recycling

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Not much is going to change for the average recycler in the upcoming year.

While the town is looking to implement a new recycling partnership with the county, the average citizen will likely see little change from the current recycling program in place in Payson, Public Works Director and Recycling Coordinator Buzz Walker said.

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Tamiko Yoshimura-Staack throws her recyclable paper and cardboard into the bin at the Gila County Complex in Payson. Yoshimura-Staack expressed an interest in more recycling bins in the Payson area.

There are currently three locations with recycle bins around town -- at Wal-Mart, the county complex and Green Valley Park. The bins are for mixed paper recycling, which includes newsprint and magazines.

The town pays Waste Management on a monthly basis to pick up materials from the bins on an as-needed basis. The town pays somewhere between $25,000 and $40,000 per year, Walker said.

Recycling Task Force chair Christine Harrison gave a presentation at the last council meeting after the group conducted research on past recycling efforts and summarized results from a recycling survey.

Harrison expressed the desire of the task force to try a new recycling program, which could save the town some money. She promoted a partnership with Gila County and Solid Waste Manager Sharon Winters.

In the partnership, the county would pay for a recycling truck to accommodate the new workload and be responsible for emptying the recycle bins, most likely on a daily or weekly basis, Walker said.

"They're going to have to check it like Waste Management, who's done a great job," he said.

The county would seek payment for the recyclable paper it collects from Payson.

The town would buy four new bins for about $5,000 each, to expand on collection locations.

The town would no longer employ Waste Management for pickup.

For the environmentally friendly community members who utilize the bins, not much will be different in the next year or two.

The town will still only offer recycling for mixed paper and corrugated containers, with the hopes that if the partnership goes well, other recycling may be available in the future, Walker said.

He said the next recyclable material to be collected would likely be plastics.

An increase in recycling and a positive partnership between the county and town would have to ensue in order for programs to be expanded, he said.

At the last meeting, the council directed the task force to create a concrete proposal between the town and county, after the recycling presentation by Harrison.

Walker said the proposal could take several weeks and would then come back before the council for approval.

"This is a great opportunity for the town and county to work together," he said.

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