Thatcher mulling over moving to home recycling bins

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Thatcher is looking into moving toward curbside recycling collection like Safford. 

By Jon Johnson

THATCHER – Those big round blue recycling containers placed at strategic locations around Thatcher since April 2017 may soon give way to each residence having its own blue recycling container next to their existing trash containers.   

That would follow the Safford model, which, after 15 years of discussion, began its curbside recycling program Sept. 24, 2015.

Town Engineer/Interim Town Manager Heath Brown addressed the Thatcher Town Council at its Monday night meeting on the subject and said the program would mirror  Safford’s – including switching to once-a-week trash pickup and once-a-week recycling pickup – with the exception that the town would purchase its blue containers instead of leasing them.

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Increasing the amount of recycling would lessen the amount placed into the Safford Landfill and extend its life.

The containers cost $63 per can and the town would need about 2,500 of them, according to Brown. That means the initial startup cost to the town would be roughly $157,500. The extra cost to run the recycling program would cost the town an estimated $750 per month ($9,000 per year) due to the increased cost of dumping the recycled products at the landfill since they are then transported by Friedman Recycling to one of its facilities. The recycling program would be the same style as its current program with all the co-mingled “single stream” recyclable materials placed in the single blue container.

Councilor Ken Larson questioned whether the town would keep some of the large blue cans at the various sites and said he didn’t think his household produces enough recyclable material to warrant his own can. Brown said if they went to individual cans they would not keep the public collection sites.

“Just with my wife and I in our home, we have little garbage bags and maybe I’ll do one or two of those a month,” Larson said. “Having another garbage can sitting there that’s going to be mostly empty . . . I don’t know how many people around the community would actually use them.”

Councilors Ashley Smith and Ryan Rapier contradicted Larson and said both their families – that also include children – have a good deal more recyclable materials than that every week.

“We empty a regular trash can about twice a week,” Rapier said.

Brown said when he lived in Gilbert and his family had a trash can and a recyclable can he filled both equally.

“It’s all your cardboard, all your aluminum, metal (and) plastics,” Brown said. “When you start putting (in) all paper, that really takes a lot out of your regular trash.”

In addition to the environmental effect, recycling more would keep more items out of the Safford Landfill, extending its life and delaying closing costs that could be in excess of $10 million.   

Brown made the presentation during his town manager report and it was not an action item, therefore no decision on moving forward with the program was made that night.    

What can be recycled: newspapers, junk mail, magazines, phone books, catalogs, paperback books, hardcover books, office paper, paper bags, cardboard, paperboard (cereal boxes etc.), plastics 1 through 7, water bottles, soda bottles, milk and juice jugs, detergent bottles, juice bottles, plastic tubs, plastic jars, rigid laundry hampers, plastic baskets, aluminum cans, steel cans, pots and pans, small electronics.

What cannot be recycled: glass, garbage, light bulbs, yard waste, hazardous waste, garden hoses, medical waste, textiles or used clothing, batteries, styrofoam, sharp metal, pizza boxes, motor oil bottles.