Troutman residents embrace recycling

Troutman officials are delighted with the 90 percent participation rate in the first year of the town's recycling program.

Introduced in July 2010, the curbside collections replaced a less successful program, which featured customer-initiated dropoffs at two locations in town.

"What the citizens of Troutman have accomplished for the environment in our first year is truly outstanding," said Mayor Elbert Richardson. "I am still amazed that, at my home, we now have much more for the recycle bin than we have for the garbage bin. This program really works."

The curbside recycling program serves 1,126 residents and businesses. Pickup is twice each month, either the first and third Wednesdays or the second and fourth Wednesdays, depending on the resident's address.

During the program's first year, the town collected 192 tons of mixed paper and cardboard, 18.9 tons of plastic, 8.2 tons of aluminum cans and 4.2 tons of steel cans.

"The response has been terrific," said Finance Director Steve Shealy, who also is the town's recycling coordinator. " ...Every pound that we can keep out of the landfill and re-use instead of creating from scratch is double in savings."

The town contracts with Benfield Sanitation of Statesville to run the operation. The trucks pick up the blue, 95-gallon roll-out containers and take the material to the Sonoco Recycling Center in Charlotte.

The program will cost $49,500 for fiscal 2011-12. A startup grant of $16,980 from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources this year will help reduce costs to local taxpayers. The rest of the cost will be covered by a fee of $1.80 per month charged to customers.

"With the dropoff program, we were spending about $21,500 annually and dealing with a lot of mess and improper materials left at the sites," Shealy said. "The curbside program is working much better and certainly giving us a lot of bang for the buck."

Many Lake Norman-area communities have started curbside recycling. Most use large rollout containers rather than the small bins, which often filled up too quickly and blew around in windy weather.

For information on the program call 704-528-7600.