TFC to run citywide recycling program

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TFC Recycling worker Rudy McQueary unloads a 95-gallon “blue bin” at a customer’s home last July. A citywide curbside recycling program, run by TFC, is proposed in the city budget.

TFC Recycling will be leading the city’s new citywide recycling program if the proposal comes through the budget process intact, leaders confirmed Tuesday.

Eric Nielsen, the city’s public works director, and Michael Benedetto, vice president of TFC Recycling, acknowledged the company will be providing the service that is proposed in the upcoming budget. Benedetto added that Suffolk residents who put their cans out on a regular basis will be able to earn “perks,” like free products and services at local businesses, for their participation.

The return of citywide recycling is an acknowledgement of the fact that the city will not always have free trash disposal at the regional landfill, as it does now.

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“What the city recognizes is that at some point in time, they’re going to have to pay for the service,” Benedetto said.

Suffolk residents now have the opportunity to pay $12 a month for curbside recycling service through TFC, or they can haul their recyclables to one of several recycling stations placed strategically around the city. TFC also services the recycling stations.

The citywide program, however, would add an $18.50 monthly fee onto the semi-yearly tax bills and every household would receive a 95-gallon bin.

Suffolk Clean Community Commission member Kathy Russell said she is excited about the return of a citywide program. She works for TFC.

“It should be an environmental thing,” Russell said. “All the waste that we produce right now can be reused.”

The price TFC will receive for conducting the citywide program still is being worked out, but Nielsen said it “could be as low as $5 a month” per household.

The city anticipates a participation rate around the 65 to 70 percent range, Nielsen said. That will help the city meet a state mandate that localities recycle at least 25 percent of their waste.

Benedetto said the curbside program will be a “win” for residents, the city, TFC and local merchants, who will see more traffic to their businesses thanks to the “Recycling Perks” program.

TFC will roll out the Recycling Perks program to its current subscribers this spring, and other households will be included as the citywide program takes effect. Residents can accumulate “frequent recycling points” and redeem them for merchandise, like free oil changes or coffee, or possibly donate them to a favorite charity.

“What we wanted to do is come up with an incentive,” Benedetto said. “There will be those folks that say, ‘I just don’t want to recycle.’ Maybe this will be the incentive they need.”

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