By Andy Hallman,
Ledger news editor
The proposed trash carts for Fairfield were once again the main topic of discussion at Monday?s city council meeting.
A few members of the public voiced their skepticism of the proposal to charge residents $1.50 per month to maintain a wheeled trash cart similar to the recycling carts residents have now. The recycling carts hold 96 gallons. Residents would be issued a 64-gallon trash cart unless they specifically requested the 96-gallon variety, which they could do at no extra cost.
Ray Griffin, who managed the Southeast Iowa Multi-County Solid Waste Agency?s landfill near Richland for 18 years, said giving residents a 96-gallon container made little sense because it would encourage more trash to be thrown away.
?They might as well do away with curb-side recycling? because residents will be able to put all their refuse in the trash cart, Griffin said.
Griffin estimated that the recycling program keeps out less than 10 percent of the tonnage that goes to the landfill.
The city?s policy allows residents to put out two 33-gallon trash bags per week. Griffin claimed that he has seen Waste Management employees pick up many bags, as many as 12 on one occasion, without stickers. He wondered how the city is reducing its landfill usage if Waste Management picks up extra bags with no stickers.
Mayor Ed Malloy said the year Fairfield switched to the 96-gallon recycling cart, it increased recycling by 70 percent.
?I think the recycling program works pretty well, and if we go backwards, we?ll lose everything,? he said. ?I take your point about the larger trash cart [since] people may not separate recycling, but it?s been 25 years, and we?ve developed a culture of recycling.?
Councilor Paul Gandy said it made sense to him that a large 96-gallon trash cart would encourage more waste. However, councilor Doug Flournoy said Waste Management studied the issue and found no increase in the trash thrown away after switching to a larger cart size.
Resident Lyle Maudlin presented to the council a list of what he claimed was 130-140 signatures of people opposed to paying for a ?can with wheels.?
Maudlin held up a small grocery bag and told the council, ?This represents my weekly garbage I put out to the curb each week. It looks like a small amount to put in a can.?
Maudlin said many of the signatures were from people who live near him at the Carrington Point Apartments, though he tried to get signatures from all over town.
?One of my neighbors has a kitchen can that she puts on the seat of her walker and walks it out to the curb each week,? Maudlin said. ?She told me, ?I don?t know how I?m going to get one of those cans [the larger trash cart] on my walker.??