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Writer: Andy Cargal
A new partnership between Brigham Young University-Idaho and the City of Rexburg may bring curbside recycling to all city residents beginning in August.
Until now the City of Rexburg has opted out of curbside recycling because it was cost prohibitive to build a facility to manage the collection and sorting of recycled material. But in December, BYU-Idaho met with city officials and proposed a plan that would use the university’s existing recycling center, making the cooperative venture cost neutral for both parties.
“This is a win-win situation for both parties,” said Eric Conrad, Facilities Management director at BYU-Idaho. “We’re able to help the city provide a valuable service for the community while also utilizing the university’s facilities to a greater degree.”
The new program will be implemented in phases. Phase 1 began last week and includes picking up garbage at 197 households in the Hidden Valley and Cresthaven neighborhoods, which equates to approximately 6 percent of single-family households in Rexburg. This will continue through the end of March and will provide an estimate for the average amount of garbage produced per household.
Phase 2, which will begin in April and run through May, will be similar to Phase 1 with the addition of city-distributed single-stream recycling bins to the same households. During this phase BYU-Idaho will sort the recycled goods into eight categories and weigh each of them. The goal is to prevent 30 percent or more of the total waste stream from ever reaching the landfill.
During both phases BYU-Idaho will keep track of the savings on garbage “tipping” fees, which are charged to the city based on the trash’s weight. If the savings on tipping fees combined with the income gained from recycling are great enough, the recycling initiative will be implemented citywide by August, with later phases incorporating large residential complexes and commercial enterprises.
In addition to implementing a recycling option for city residents, the new initiative is also beneficial because it will provide approximately 80 new jobs for BYU-Idaho students when the program is fully under way. The university’s recycling center, which is currently only used for three hours each day, will eventually be operational daily from 9 a.m. to midnight.