Marc Lefkowitz | 10/02/07 @ 10:34am
In December 2003, the City of Cleveland, eager to show the public it was making good on promises to trim its budget, put a stop to weekly curbside recycling of cans, glass, plastics (#1,2), newspapers and cardboard. As a stop-gap measure, it offered twenty-five recycling drop off sites located throughout the city.
After three-and-half years, the city's budget isn't much better, but its perspective on the cost-benefit for recycling might be. Cleveland launched a pilot curbside recycling program last week, starting with fifteen routes of 1,000 households each (while keeping the drop-off sites in place). The routes were selected using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a computer mapping program, allowing the city to use the same number of trucks in its fleet.
The program will cost $30 million, says Cleveland Sustainability Programs Manager Andrew Watterson, but it has benefits to the city budget and the environment. “The city spends $9 million a year in tipping fees, so this will save about $1 million,” Watterson says. The figures are based on Cleveland residents’ ten percent recycling rate, up from six percent a few years ago.