By Judy Sheridan
A recent report compiled by Republic Services shows that the cities of Hudson Oaks, Annetta, Annetta North and Annetta South are each recycling about 15 percent of their waste some two years after the start of curbside recycling service.
The percentage — calculated for January through May — is up slightly from 2012, the first full calendar year of the contract.
All together, the four cities diverted 402.5 tons of recyclable materials from landfills in 2012, according to the report, and could well recycle more than 500 tons in 2013 if last year’s pattern — with more recycling later in the year — holds true.
The recyclables include newsprint, magazines, paper, certain types of plastic, corrugated boxes, aluminum and metal cans and glass bottles and jars.
Annetta North Mayor Rob Watson, who requested the report from Republic and shared it with the Annetta North City Council last week, said he wants residents to know that waste recycling has been successful and is setting a good example for others.
He said the single-stream recycling option — which doesn’t require sorting — has encouraged participation.
Some 61 percent of Annetta North households now participate in the curbside program, according to local Duncan Disposal site manager Marty Anderson, with 53 percent engaging in Hudson Oaks, 61 percent in Annetta South and 50 percent in Annetta.
Anderson said 50 percent to 55 percent household participation is considered to be about average.
Providing curbside recycling services for East Parker County residents is part of a larger solid waste services contract that the four cities — along with the cities of Aledo and Willow Park — negotiated with Republic in 2011.
In fact, the six East Parker County cities received an award from the North Central Texas Council of Governments for negotiating the contract as one unit, which held down costs for residents.
Aledo and Willow Park have not initiated curbside recycling.
“To keep the trash rate as low as possible, curbside recycling has not been implemented at this time,” Aledo City Administrator Ken Pfeifer explained. “Other options exist for residents by utilizing recycling bins at various locatons that accept recycling materials.”
Hudson Oaks Mayor Pat Deen is pleased with the stance the Hudson Oaks City Council took on the issue, saying he felt the community expected a more committed effort in responsible resource conservation.
“And in working collectively with the Annettas, the increase was less than a dollar to our residents,” he said. “This is another example of how our respective cities work together on solving regional issues.”
Hudson Oaks Interim City Administrator Patrick Lawler described the city’s household participation rate as “a great rate that can still improve.”
“We do yearly PR, and this year’s rate is better than last year’s,” he said. “This is something that gradually grows as people find out how really easy it is.”
Annetta Mayor Bruce Pinckard said the success of the program in Annetta probably varies according to location.
“I think in the neighborhoods — where [residents] tend to be younger and a little more pro-green — it’s doing well; in the rural areas, I just don’t know. There’s a learning curve, and people need to get into the habit.”
Most Annetta residents, however, supported recycling right from the start, he said.
“When we negotiated for that contract, the phone survey came back with surprisingly strong support,” Pinckard said, “two-thirds or more.
“We were able to add it at no cost — a few pennies — our rates barely moved.”