Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From the Ground Up

Who will ask the green questions?

Today, the Amarillo City Commission talked about the committee that will research shrinking the city's trash stream.

"We want them to see what the recycling pulse is right now," said Mayor Debra McCartt. "Where do we see it going?"

Only 11 people volunteered to serve compared to the approximately 700 who previously signed a petition asking for better recycling opportunities.

After the commission appoints the members, possibly at next week's regular meeting, the committee is supposed to do its homework and come back with recommendations. That could take a year.

Here are some questions McCartt hopes the green squad will consider:

  • Could a recycling plant be built in Amarillo to process the products?
  • How to get the schools involved?
  • Do we need more drop-off sites?
  • What makes sense for the entire city, not just a small group?

The big challenge is cost. Dallas and San Antonio have partnered with private companies and make money on recycling, in addition to the money they save on reduced landfill operations and trash pickup. Austin is losing lots of money because the company it contracted with ships recyclable waste to Dallas for processing.

The cost problems for Amarillo include the distance to processing plants and the personnel and equipment it would take to start curbside pickups.

It doesn't help anyone that the current prices for many processed materials stink worse than garbage.

Those nominated for the committee are: Jacob Breeden, Rhoda Breeden, Anette Carlisle, Jenny Clark, Mary Emeny, Kevin Guttenplan, Rachael Kelly, Warren McCarty, Cathy McClendon, Gina Dillon Podolsky and Kim Vincent.

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