Saturday, December 13, 2003

City backs off idea of ending curbside recycling program

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati's curbside recycling program is safe, at least for another year.

A tight budget led City Manager Valerie Lemmie to suggest the $2.1 million program be cut. Recycling grants and reduced landfill costs lowered the cost to $1.2 million.

Brendon Cull, spokesman for Mayor Charlie Luken, said Friday that the recycling program is safe.

"Council found the money to continue it next year, and we're very happy about that," he said.

Councilman David Crowley said Friday that's not exactly correct.

"We found the political will, so the money will follow," Crowley said, adding that public support for the program in hearings last week swayed council.

"At least 75 to 80 percent of the people who come to (the hearings) talked about keeping the program," Crowley said. "In the long run, it's far more economical to recycle than continue to fill up landfills."

Where the money will come from has not been determined.

The cut would have had ramifications throughout Hamilton County.

Jeff Aluotto, solid waste manager for the county, said the loss of Cincinnati's program could have meant the elimination of popular countywide programs such as the household hazardous waste drop-off, which allows residents to have cleaners, paints and other materials recycled for free.

"A big part of our (mandatory recycling) plan with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency involves communities offering curbside service," Aluotto said. "What I feared, if Cincinnati's program was dismantled, is that the EPA would have us put something in place that is not nearly as effective and would not provide nearly the service."

About 36,000 tons of material is recycled from Hamilton County municipalities every year, one-third from Cincinnati, Aluotto said.


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