Less than a year into the new Columbus Recycles initiative, more than half of city sanitation customers have signed up for curbside service.
Columbus Department of Public Works set a goal of 40 percent of its customers signing up for the bi-weekly recycling pickup option in the first year.
But the program quickly exceeded that and reached 51 percent of customers this month as the program grew in popularity, said Bryan Burton, department director.
Now, the department wants to achieve 60 percent of its customers signing up as the next benchmark to meet, Burton said.
“Eventually we want to get to 100,” he said.
Through Columbus Recycles, local residents who live in a single family residence or an apartment complex with no more than four units may set out a city-provided tote every other week, which the city will pick up at no additional charge. The program began in February.
All materials that can currently be recycled in Columbus are included in the curbside recycling programs, as well as a few additional plastics.
However, plastic foam and plastic bags are two commonly used materials that cannot be placed in the totes, Burton said. The department may be able to include those materials in the program in the future, he said.
Residents can place all of their recyclables in the tote without sorting them into different categories.
On average, Columbus residents recycled 156 tons of materials in the first 10 months of the program, with:
105 residents using the 48 gallon tote
134 residents using the 64 gallon tote
8,128 residents using the 96 gallon tote
Across Indiana, similar recycling programs employ 75,000 workers and generate $19 billion in revenue, $3 billion in payroll and $285 million in state tax revenue.
To learn more about Columbus Recycles or to sign up for the program, visit columbus.in.gov/columbus-recycles/. The website has links to the sign-up form and a complete list of the items included in curbside recycling.
The city’s new curbside recycling service, which began in February, is available to single-family residences and apartments with four units or fewer that are currently sanitation customers.
All material currently recyclable in Columbus, as well as some additional plastics materials, will be accepted as part of the service. Residents are not required to sort their recyclable materials before placing them in the city-provided recycling toters.
The 2015 city budget contained about $59,000 to cover hourly wages, benefits, payroll taxes and overtime for a new driver and $20,000 for diesel fuel.
The cost of the 10,000 toters and two trucks needed for the program — about $1 million overall — is being covered through a partnership with 24 community businesses and organizations:
Analytical Engineering Inc.
Boyer Machine & Tool Co. Inc.
Celadon Dedicated Services
Centra Credit Union
Energy Matters Community Coalition
Falcon Manufacturing LLC
Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies
Force Construction Co. Inc.
LHP Software LLC
Owens Communications Inc.
South Central Company
Southern Roofing Inc.
Sunright America Inc.
Tata Consultancy Services
Taylor Brothers Construction Co. Inc.
Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing Inc.