8 Goes Green: Columbia Recycling Numbers Flat
COLUMBIA - As the city of Columbia grows, properly managing waste is an increasing challenge and necessity.
One great way to help manage the amount of trash Columbia produces is to recycle as much as possible. The City of Columbia has an entire department dedicated to managing the recycling aspect of the trash collection. The Solid Waste Utility provides two primary ways to dispose of recyclables: curbside pickup and centralized drop-off sites. The program seems to be working, as a 2013 citizen survey shows 87 percent of Columbia residents say they use the curbside pickup program, and 49 percent use the drop-off locations for their recyclables.
Nearly 7,000 tons of recycled materials have been collected so far this year, with 3,000 tons coming from the residential curbside collections and more than 1,800 coming from the drop-off sites. But even with more that 80 percent of Columbian's saying they recycle in some way, Solid Waste Utility Manager Cynthia Mitchell said there is room for improvement. The amount of recyclables collected has been almost the same over he past two years.
"Residentially, it has become stagnant. And that's an issue for us because the city continues to grow. We continue to have more houses come on our utility system, but then getting word out to them to get them recycling is our challenge," Mitchell said.
The curbside pickup program works similarly to the way trash collection works. The city provides vouchers for blue recyclable bags three times per year for people. Then, on the night before trash collection service is scheduled, residents can set out their bags on the curb for collection in the morning.
The drop-off program features large bins found in several places in Columbia and can be used to drop off recycled items at any time.