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They signed up for ‘convenience factor’

Katey Brooks grew up as a recycler.

“My parents always recycled,” she said. Her mother is a soil conservationist, and her father is a landscape artist, so both stressed environmental conservation to their children.

Her husband, Matt Brooks, likewise grew up taking aluminum cans to the recycling center for the 5-cent refund in his native New York.

Now that the two live in Suffolk and have a large dog and a 10-month-old son, they have plenty of dog food cans and baby food jars to recycle. The two Burnett’s Mill residents have been collecting their recyclables in an empty cat litter bucket in the pantry, and hauling them to the collection bins near Freedom Plaza when the bucket gets full.

“It’s not very far,” Matt Brooks said.

Even so, the couple jumped at the chance to have their recyclables picked up at the curb every other week for $12 per month.

The city of Suffolk has contracted with TFC Recycling to provide curbside pickup service to the city’s residents. For a $12 fee each month, the Chesapeake-based company will provide those who choose to participate with a recycling container similar to the trash containers the city provides most homes. Participants can dump a wide variety of materials into the cans, which then would be picked up twice a month on trash day.

The company is trying to sign up 3,000 residents by Earth Day, April 22.

Despite numerous sign-up events and a publicity campaign, the Brookses did not know about the program until Matt Brooks stumbled upon the sign-up form on the city’s Web site.

Matt Brooks said the $12 monthly fee is a small price to pay for convenience — and for not forgetting to take the recyclables to the bin.

“Sometimes I forget, and the garage is overloaded,” Matt Brooks said. “I think it’s a nominal fee. It’s really the convenience factor.”

The Brookses said they recycle because it helps reuse items that otherwise would just go in the landfill.

“Yeah, you can throw it away, but you can do more with it,” Matt Brooks said.

To register online, or for more information, visit www.tfcrecycling.com/suffolk. The company now also has a Facebook fan page. Those who sign up for the program do not have to give their billing information until after the 3,000-household threshold is met.

Those without Internet access can call 543-5766 to register, or visit one of the following sign-up events:

Harris Teeter at Marketplace at Harbour View

March 6

March 20

Farm Fresh on Main Street

Feb. 27

March 6

March 20

Farm Fresh on Bridge Road

Feb. 28

March 7

March 21