Over two years ago the City of Knoxville, Tennessee started offering curbside recycling to their residents. City officials planned that the program would pay for itself from the money brought in from the recyclables. That has not necessarily worked out as intended but the city is still finding success in the program.
There a great deal of cost associated with the free service and the contract with the waste removal company to haul the recyclables alone is worth nearly a million dollars. Recently, the city acknowledged that the taxpayers would not be saving any money in the near future but the city plans to make some moves to save costs. By just changing the location of where the recyclables are processed will cut fuel cost by $80,000 per year.
Recycling participation has been so successful that the City of Knoxville will be able to close one of their 11 recycling centers since the majority of the recyclables are processed directly through this program. This closure will save the city $40,000 a year and plans to close other centers are in the works. Also problems with free back door garbage services are no longer an issue, which estimates to save the city around a half a million dollars every year.
Although Knoxville is in a position to earn money in the future, much success has been in the amount of waste that is diverted from going into local landfills. Over 3,000 tons of recyclables have been saved from landfills each year since the start of the project. Also officials are quick to point out the benefits on Knoxville residents by not having to drive and drop off their recyclables like they had to prior to the program.
“I’m so proud Knoxville is doing the right thing, so we don’t have to drive hither and yond to take the recycling.” Said resident Ruth Hungerford
The recycling program has been very accepted by the community but the City capped the service at 20,000 residents. This is in efforts to allow the program to be paid off before expanding. Currently, there are almost 2,000 Knoxville resident that are on a waiting list for the curbside program.
Although this recycling program has not been as lucrative in monetary form as City Officials would of hoped, it has still been a success. Knoxville may not be receiving instant gratification but efforts that are put forth now, will prove dividends in the future.