A large crowd packed into the Effingham City Hall Council Chambers Wednesday night for a town hall meeting regarding recycling in the city. Mayor Jeff Bloemker called the topic of recycling a “nagging issue” for the city. While the city administration has looked into a recycling program, nothing beyond fact finding has been done. Wednesday’s meeting was a chance for residents to voice their opinions to the city management team as well as local waste disposal businesses.
While some local businesses and volunteers take various recyclable items, many residents at Wednesday’s meeting said that it wasn’t enough. Several attendees made suggestions on to make recycling more available to residents, but some had trepidation about who was going to pay for it. One idea pitched was the possible creation of a citizen’s committee to begin taking action on the issue.
Mayor Bloemker said the city could help by possibly subsidizing local efforts, but hoped that finding a solution wouldn’t fall solely on them.
“I’m kind of hoping that the free market will take effect here and that the service providers can step up and figure out a way, for this to augment the existing services they provide,” Said Mayor Bloemker. “But we’ll be talking with them and it may be one of those situations where, again, the municipality has to step in and subsidize some of the cost involved for the service providers to at least make sure they don’t lose money at it.”
There will be cost associated with a recycling program said Brian Hayes of Sanitation Services. According to him, that cost will largely come from pickup and transportation of the recyclable materials. Todd Wingstrom, a representative from Normal, Illinois based recycling company Midwest Fiber echoed the sentiment that a recycling program will have costs for the community.
A suggestion that the city place dumpsters throughout the area was suggested by Chris Sutter, of Sutter Disposal. Others suggested that education was key to a successful recycling program.
Mayor Bloemker however was positive after the meeting. He said the next step was to try to assimilate the feedback from the meeting and look into possible solutions.
“But I think if, you know the will of the people is there to make it happen and I believe that the City of Effingham, the city council wants to see it happen, so I think we’re going to see some progress here in the future.”
The mayor encouraged residents to weigh in on the topic at the Mayor’s Blog in the next few days which can be found here.