Citizens speak out at community meeting

Posted in: News
May 2, 2013 - 9:10:49 AM

Marlow residents shared their views on the city’s recycling program last Thursday at city hall.
Nearly 20 residents attended the 40-minute community meeting. Those who asked questions or made comments to city and Waste Connection’s officials, did not favor the program.
“What if you don’t want to participate,” was the first question from one of the attendees.
 “You will still get charged for it whether you use it or not, so you might as well get the benefits from it,” Waste Connections general manager Brad Hegwer said. “There were people in Chickasha who wanted nothing to do with it when it came there. They called and told us to come pick up the bins from their homes. After they saw and heard of the benefits from others in the community, nearly all of them called and wanted their bin back.”
Chickasha has the largest recycling participation rate in the state at 62 percent according to Hegwer.
Other residents questioned why the program was not voted on so residents could have a say.
“One of the main things to me is that I feel like we are being forced to do this,” one woman said.
“This is just the next step in sanitation,” Marlow Community Coordinator Jason McPherson said. “We used to have pick up in the alleys and now we do roadside pick up. This is the next phase.”
City administrator Janice Cain opened the meeting by talking about the need for the program since landfill space is limited and recycling would cut down on the amount of trash going to landfills.
“Mandatory recycling is going to be coming everywhere eventually,” Cain said. “We are being progressive and getting started now.”
One resident mentioned Lawton has recycling centers where people can take their recyclables.
“Usually only the hardcore recyclers use those,” Hegwer said. “People will also put other things in the bins that don’t belong there, contaminating them. They are looking into having mandatory recycling of their own.”
Some in attendance said the additional $5 utility cost would be difficult.
“That is why it is important to participate in the program,” Hegwer said. “The average rewards are worth $10 to $20 a month.”
A rewards program representative has been in Marlow recently to sign up local businesses to participate in the rewards program.
“We want to have as much local business participation as we can,” McPherson said.
Hegwer said some people use their rewards monthly for discounts on goods and services, while others save up their points.
One man was concerned by the accumulation of water in solid-bottomed bins which could cause mold to form in the bottom.
“How is it helping the environment then,” he asked.
“I understand your concern, but no program is perfect,” Hegwer said.
One resident, concerned about privacy, questioned how much information the computer chips in the trash bins would contain.
“We are not going to be selling information,” Hegwer said. “It just contains the address information to know who to credit. It will also allow us to keep track of the bins. If a bin is not where it is supposed to be, we can take it back to the right address.”
Hegwer also told a resident the additional $5 cost should not increase anytime soon.
“We are under a five-year contract, so the price will stay the same until it is time to renegotiate,” Hegwer said.
Recycling pickup begins May 8 for residences north of Main Street  - south of Main pickups begin May 15. North and south side pickups will alternate weeks.
There will be a recycling kick off event at 11 a.m. on Friday at Fuqua Park in Duncan. The kick off will feature food and one of the new trucks for residents to see firsthand.

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