Whatever Happened to Lubbock's Blue Bag Recycling Program? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/16/03

Whatever Happened to Lubbock's Blue Bag Recycling Program?

So, whatever happened to recycling in Lubbock? Since the city disposed of the blue bag program, many of you have wondered what happened to it, and what kind of recycling program the city replaced it with?

"We would have a truck that would come down an alley and not pick-up one blue bag out of the whole alley, and that's just not cost effective," says Gaylyn Chapman with the City of Lubbock's Solid Waste Department.

The city was forced to make a tough decision. Toss out the blue-bag program, or keep it, and charge LP&L customers $5 a month for the service. "We just didn't feel like with 2% of our citizens recycling, we could do that in good faith," says Chapman.

So, Lubbock has reverted back to a drop off recycling program. Citizens can take their plastics, aluminum, tin, glass, newspapers and other recyclables to five sites around town. It's a good system, but it's about as successful as the blue bag program. Practically no one in this city recycles and the city readily admits the current program isn't profitable either.

Last year, the program cost Lubbock $494,000. In turn, it generated only $21,000 in revenues. But, those numbers are much better than the numbers from the blue bag program. Annual expenses for it totaled $1 million, and it only generated $20,000 in revenues.

Still, it's the City's philosophy that a drop-off program is better than nothing at all. "We're doing something long term to divert trash from the landfill so that we have landfill space for our kids."

Lubbock's curse, or blessing depending on how you look at it, is that we have an abundance of landfill space. Because of that, it's nice not be faced with a shortage, but it's unfortunate that because there are no restrictions on waste, we are very wasteful. "From the standpoint of other cities, they have ordinances that require recycling because they are running low on landfill space," says Chapman.

The city has three main stations and two satellite stations. The satellite stations are run by a school and a neighborhood association. One of them is located at Frenship's Northridge Elementary where students maintain the site and the school receives all proceeds.

Despite that, Northridge is the only school that has a satellite station. There are other satellite stations in stock, but they're just sitting idle at the City's main recycling center.

Gaylyn Chapman says until citizens show they're serious about recycling, curbside service will not return. But, for those 2% who do recycle, there will always be a drop off nearby.

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