87 percent of county residents opt-in for curbside recycling

Blue recycle bin, location and date unspecified | Stock image, St. George News
BluCan logo | Image courtesy of the Washington County Solid Waste District, St. George News
BluCan logo | Image courtesy of the Washington County Solid Waste District, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – In order to make a proposed curbside recycle program feasible, 50 percent or more of Washington County’s population needed to opt-in to the program. On Friday, the Washington County Solid Waste District announced 87 percent of the county opted to participate in the BluCan Curbside Recycling program.

“This is a very exciting success for the program,” WCSW District Manager Neil Schwendiman said in a press release. “We didn’t expect to have this many people willing and eager to participate.”

  • The opt-out period wrapped up at the end of October and the numbers are in:
    • A total of 41,944 homes are participating out of 48,235 qualifying homes in all the participating cities in Washington County
    • St. George’s participation rate is 85 percent and Washington City came in at a solid 88 percent

The smaller municipalities La Verkin, Leeds, Virgin, Rockville, Toquerville and Santa Clara ranged from 49 percent to 78 percent participation.

Springdale, Ivins and Hurricane are mandatory cities and all their citizens are required to participate.

“And so now we will be doing curbside recycling,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said at the conclusion of a City Council meeting Thursday.

In St. George, Washington City and other cities where 70 percent or more of the residents opted in, the original monthly charge for curbside service – projected to be about $4 – will go down.

A list of what can and can't go in the BluCan container | Image courtesy of BluCan.org, St. George News
A list of what can and can’t go in the BluCan container | Click to enlarge | Image courtesy of BluCan.org, St. George News

For St. George, Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager, said Friday that the city’s monthly cost is estimated to drop to around $3.15, which includes city administrative fees. The $3.15 estimate is preliminary, Mortensen said, yet said it is anticipated the final cost will fall somewhere between $3.10 and $3.15.

As for the remaining 15 percent of St. George, along with those in other cities who opted out, Mortensen said those residents can opt-in at any time in the future.

A big reason for implementing the program is to divert as much recyclable material as possible away from the county landfill. Doing so is expected to extend the life of the landfill in the long run.

“The diversion (from the landfill) is the main reason for it,” Pike said. “… And it’s still cheaper to recycle than it is to bury it.”

The name BluCan itself stands for “Better Landfill Utilization,” according to the WCSW District.

“Saving landfill space will make a significant impact for the area,” district officials said in a press release in August. “While the current landfill has many years of use remaining, the value of reducing the current stream of waste to lengthen its life and preserve land space benefits future generations,”

BluCans to be used for the program have been ordered, Pike said, with delivery to participating homes set for January.

The recycling program is slated to begin in February, with pickup being done twice a month by Republic Services, the company contracted by the district to collect the recyclables.

“Everything’s in motion,” Pike said.

BluCan allows residents to deposit paper, plastic, cardboard and metal waste into their own BluCan, a can that will be similar to their current garbage can. Glass is currently excluded from the list of acceptable recyclables.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • BIG GUY November 21, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Good show!

  • Camille November 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    The neighbors I talked to did not even know about it. They don’t look at their bill each month. After I mentioned it they all opted out so I think all the people that did not opt out just did not know about it. You should have had an opt in option instead of making it an automatic thing if they did not opt out.

  • Brian November 21, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    No, zero percent opted-IN, 13% opted-OUT, and 87% either intentionally chose not to opt-out, or didn’t even realize it was happening. This headline and article are misleading and should be corrected to reflect the reality of the situation. The only opting-in occurred at the board level, the actual people footing the bill were only given the chance to opt-out, and then only for a short period of time. This is NOT the way to govern.

    • .... November 22, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      The only thing misleading around here is you. Shouldn’t you be out there hanging out with your illegal alien friends and protecting them

  • ladybugavenger November 21, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    You gotta pay for recycling? And the city or county gets paid by charging a recycling fee and they get paid for the recyclables? Double dipping, that’s good biz right there…..blah blah blah

    • 42214 November 22, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      Good point, they’re making a profit with our recycling, why do we have to pay extra for their profit?

  • KarenS November 21, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Great news! Recycling is easy and our grandchildren will thank us! So glad to not have to travel to the binnies anymore. Can hardly wait until February.

  • Jeff November 21, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Yeah…. I had no idea we “opted in”. Hard to say we opted in to anything without knowing about it.

  • sagemoon November 23, 2015 at 9:42 am

    How did people miss the notice about this? It was in the news, it was in the bills, people talk about it, and the recycle binnies have been disappearing around town. I assume the people who weren’t paying attention aren’t the type who give a rat’s butt about the environment and saving space in the landfill. As a person who does recycle, I appreciate the convenience of having my recyclables picked up from in front of my home instead of having to haul it myself. I don’t mind paying a few bucks for that convenience. I still intend to recycle my aluminum cans for cash but it will be nice to know all the plastics, papers, and cardboard won’t be piling up around my house until I make a binnie run.

  • Steph January 28, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I had no idea, either. How can I opt out, now that I have involuntarily been opted-in? I’m all for recycling, but I prefer to walk my recycling to the containers that already exist at several locations around my neighborhood. It’s better for the environment, and I get a little exercise to boot. Does anyone know off-hand how I can opt out? Am I stuck paying for a whole year of a bin I won’t use?

    Also, will those bins around town disappear? I know some of them advertise that the money they make from collecting recycling goes to things like parks and animal shelters. I’d hate to see those things lose out.

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