March 4, 2013

Chickasha recycling program breaks state records for participation

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Chickasha's recycling program has already posted record breaking numbers of participation according to a report from Waste Connections.

The document states that 62.5 percent of possible recyclers are participating in the program.

"There is not another city in the State with those kind of participation rates, so a big congratulations to the citizens of Chickasha," Brenda Merchant, state sales and municipal manager for Waste Connections said.

Not only does Chickasha stand alone among all current recycling programs in the state, but the city has also smashed the record for citizen involvement in a recycling program in the state's history and several others that Waste Connections does business in, Merchant said.

"I am just totally and utterly impressed," she said.

Waste Connections uses a system that identifies when a polycart is used and picked up once a month, said Merchant.

"This means that citizen participation may be higher because some people put out the cart every other month," she said.

This method is so effective that it has drawn the attention of Chickasha's neighbors like Marlow and Duncan, who have both expressed interest in mimicking Chickasha's recycling program, according to Merchant.

Mayor Hank Ross said people being well informed about the program has helped its success and he recycles regularly.

"Personally, I have more recyclables than trash," he said.

The size of the carts may also contribute to the program's success due their large capacity, which aides in people's ability to fit items in the carts more simply, said Ross.

That simple convenience combined with an incentive based program is why the system has spread and thrived so easily, according to Merchant.

Several Chickasha citizens had positive things to say about the program, citing it as a motivator to participate.

"I recycle more than I throw away thanks to the full size polycarts," Jewels Dewey said. "Norman began giving out these green tubs for recycling, which seemed like a joke at the time because the tubs blew away along with all that was in it, therefor polluting the environment. Good job Chickasha!"

Others found the initiation of the program as a reason to recycle.

"After we received our green bin, I actually started looking through our home for items that could be recycled," Pamela Pogue said. "I had a number of magazines that I had collected over the years ... recycle. I found boxes that we had kept for electronics (I have no idea why) ... recycle. We go through water bottles and soda cans ... recycle. Now, I look at everything we are throwing out and to make sure which bin it should go to. I had no idea just how much trash could be recycled!"  

And some are so thrilled with the program that they'd like to see it used in greater frequency.

"I would like to see them pick up the recycling once a week," said Lisa Mitchusson "I have more items to recycle than trash."