Let’s take just a minute and review some facts about residential and commercial garbage collection and disposal in Tullahoma. Citizens of Tullahoma spend $675,000 a year to collect and dispose of residential garbage in Tullahoma. Approximately 30% of households in Tullahoma regularly recycle. I am confident Mr. Limbaugh and his Public Works team are very efficient in the collection of garbage. That’s not the cost angle I am talking about. I’m talking about the costs to collect the garbage and the fact that 70% of Tullahoma households do not bother to recycle. The 30% is pretty good compared with some cities, but there is no question we as a community can do better.
The collection and disposal of residential garbage is the only area of city government I can think of that we can save money and even make money if citizens do their part. Last year Public Works saved over $217,000 by selling recycled materials and the market prices were low. The additional savings resulting from garbage being deferred from the landfill was $260,233!
There is a direct correlation between the more people who recycle and the savings generated from lower collection and landfill costs and the selling of recycled materials.
I can think of no legitimate reason why 100% of the citizens do not recycle. Public Works provides curbside service at every home in Tullahoma every week. No other community in our area provides such services. Everyone should take advantage of curbside service. You don’t need a fancy container; just set your recycled materials in a bag next to your garbage can.
Keep in mind the average family in Tullahoma pays $80 per year for the city to collect and bury their garbage. If everyone recycled, this is money that could be returned to citizens, or used to provide additional services.
Public Works will even provide compost bins to put your household food wastes in and when ready, you can spread over your yard or garden. There are 103 compost bins spread all over Tullahoma. This has saved many thousands of dollars in collection and disposal costs, I’m sure.
Plus, and perhaps most important, recycling is just the right thing to do. It’s hard to believe we actually bury our garbage. Ten, 20, 50 years from now, people are going to look back at this time period and say, “They buried their garbage, how stupid was that!” We must be more respectful of our environment.
We have done so much the past couple of years to encourage recycling and it has helped – stickers on garbage containers with a last second reminder to recycle, TV commercials encouraging families to recycle, someone available to answer recycling questions, colorful containers to encourage recycling , recycling education in schools, and the Recycle Center open 7 days a week – but I am convinced we can do more.
Businesses in Tullahoma also pay for Public Works to pick up and dispose of their garbage. Last year businesses paid $639,000. That means the average business paid over $1,000 for the city to collect and bury their garbage. Many businesses do recycle, but again, we can do better.
To those citizens and business owners and managers who do recycle – thank you for doing your part. Now, let me challenge you to go to the next step. Some communities in America have challenged their residents with a “zero waste initiative”. Zero waste is when at least 95% of a household’s or business’s waste is diverted from the landfill via recycling, composting or reusing. A lofty goal, I know, but definitely something worth pursuing.
Thousands of bright, responsible citizens live in Tullahoma. I challenge the 6,000 families and the many businesses that do not recycle to start immediately. There is no legitimate reason not to. I would personally like to hear the reasons people do not recycle. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And I encourage Public Works to continue to do a good job at making recycling available to every home and business in Tullahoma.