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April 16, 2014

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So far, so good for Henderson recycling program

Recycling in test neighborhoods has increased from 6 percent to more than 30 percent

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Justin M. Bowen

Recycling bins are seen on the curb in an Anthem neighborhood in Henderson. Since the pilot program launched, the city has been fine-tuning it and working to address concerns through neighborhood and community meetings.

For years, residential waste in Henderson has been handled the same way. Trash is picked up twice a week. Recycling gets sorted into paper, plastic, glass and cans, and is picked up every other week.

That could all change if a pilot program the city is testing in more than a dozen neighborhoods is expanded to include the entire community.

The program aims to increase recycling by moving to weekly pickups of single-stream bins — which combine all recyclables into one container that looks like a typical trash can.

The change is working so far — recycling in the test neighborhoods has increased from 6 percent to more than 30 percent.

But easier, more frequent recycling comes with a trade-off — garbage will only be picked up once a week, which raises concerns among some residents about stinky garbage cooking in the Nevada heat.

Other residents say the new single-stream recycling bins don’t easily fit in their garages and that the larger cans are more difficult to maneuver than the individual bins, especially for the elderly.

“They’re too bulky,” said Edith Silverberg, who lives in Sun City Solera. “There’s no room for them. It doesn’t bother me having to sort out the recyclables.”

About a quarter of the city’s homes are included in the pilot, but Sun City Solera was excluded after residents opposed bringing it to their neighborhood.

City officials are pleased with the results so far and say that various resident concerns can be dealt with.

“Initially we had a lot of phone calls,” Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said.

Since the program launched, the city has been fine-tuning it and working to address concerns through neighborhood and community meetings.

“A lot of people, once they’ve gotten accustomed to it, have become supportive,” Richards said.

The pilot will end in September after a nearly yearlong test, after which the City Council will review the results and vote whether to expand it to the rest of the city.

All of Henderson’s council members and the mayor have had their neighborhoods included in the program, so they’ve been testing it firsthand in advance of their decision.

Councilwoman Debra March said she’s become a fan of single-stream after finding it makes dealing with her recyclables an easier, less time-consuming process.

“When I used to put bins out in the street, the paper and plastic tended to blow around,” she said. “Now, when I’ve got papers in my car in the garage, I just take it out and throw it away into recycling. It makes handling things quick.”

March said the program fits into Henderson’s broader goal of promoting sustainability and planning for the future.

Single-stream recycling is also being tested in other markets, including at 42,000 homes in North Las Vegas and another 10,000 homes in Las Vegas, said Bob Coyle, vice president of government affairs for Republic Services, the valley’s waste-management contractor.

“By giving them the large (recycling cart), we’re doubling the amount of recycling that can fit in the containers,” he said. “All they have to do is throw all their recyclables in there. People often say, ‘I didn’t realize how much I could really recycle.’ ”

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  1. I would not have a problem with this in our area. We only need trash pick up once a week anyway. Tired of all the paper blowing around the streets and almost no one picking it up.

    They will be making less pick up's over all each year so they need to be reminded of that when the go to the city/county for a rate increase.

    Good to see more people recycle with this program though. Less trash the better.

  2. this is a much better fit for households with one car in the garage, probably 50% of houses; but for a two car household with a normal amount of "garage stuff", there is no room

    So, if this is mandated, ie. dictated, I'll have to take one medium size cart and not recycle

    and don't for a minute continue to be lemmings, the service will go down, not the price

  3. PLEASE BRING THIS TO ZIP CODE 89107! I'd love to have it here. Plus, when more than half of the consumable products we use are recyclable, I find that the bi-weekly pickups usually have my neighbors and I cramming our bins with everything and leaves them overflowing.

  4. We have the new system in our neighborhood and have been using it for over a year since we moved in. We love it! It is so much easier than having to sort things out, not too mention the larger bin is simpler to get to the curb.

    We have plenty of room in our garage so it is not a problem. And by the looks of the neighborhood no one else has a problem with it either, none are visible outside.

  5. We participate and we do not get any discount. But we have limits put on trash pick up. We only get one day for pick up which isn't bad but if we have extra trash they won't pick it up until bulk day. We normally don't have a lot of trash but we always have a full recycle bin every week and sometimes we could use pick up twice a week for recycle stuff. It is a good program but they haven't passed any savings to the customers. Just gave us their cans and told us we can't use any thing but there cans

  6. We've had the program in our neighborhood for about 6 months and it's been working great! Initially there were a few homeowners who complained but the City of Henderson and Republic Services have done a great job of communicating with them. Republic Services has two different container sizes which can satisfy pretty much anyone. As for the concern with smell, we have not noticed any. Also, there is virtually no trash being blown around the neighborhood any more. The pros far outweigh the cons and I hope the city moves forward with the program.

  7. I tried recycling, unless you pay me, I'm not doing it. Sorry, but it's a hassle and I receive nothing for doing it. I already help the planet by my rising electric bill that pays for NV energies green nonsense.

    The recycling company profits off this, so why shouldn't the people who are recycling receive some type of income from it?

    I originally chose to recycle, I was not part of the program. I also tried to save aluminum cans and recycle but it costs me more in gas to bring them to be recycled then I received from the recycling company.

    I tried, and after seeing my power bill, I am actually less likely to do anything to help the planet. All these solar panels going up, all this recycling, and yet prices keep on rising. Fun times.

  8. We are in the recycling program here and seen huge benefits.

    I have a two car garage and with it well organized I keep both a medium size trash can and the small recycling size can in the garage with no problems.

    For the record I also keep two cars in the garage, bikes, tool box, shelving for misc storage, golf clubs all without a problem.

    Regarding the smell I have no issues but I also use my garbage disposal for the majority of food waist and minimal things go in the trash.

    Finally the streets on trash day no longer have the same issues once had. Even though it is county and city code that trash has to be in a can many use to only put bags out that often got ripped open by the cats or winds causing trash. No longer now the streets are clean and the human scavengers that use to drive the community to steel the recyclables are no longer.

    My only concern is being out of town the day that pickup is meaning the need to wait another week, but it was not the end of the world and I would take the positives from this over the one or two negatives.