In Jonesboro, Landlords' Views Vary on Recycling

JONESBORO — City officials plan to increase recycling efforts throughout Jonesboro, including apartment communities. And at least one landlord is enthusiastic about it.

John Hardin, owner of Sundance Townhomes, said he plans to buy recycling canisters for each of his 36 units.

"Absolutely, and I'm going to encourage my tenants to do that," Hardin said Monday.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that the new collection system will begin July 2. The recycling service is provided at no charge. However, for the first time, residents who choose to participate must purchase blue 65-gallon recycling bins that are similar to the green, 95-gallon bins used for garbage.

Some apartment complexes, like Hardin's, receive the same garbage pickup service as single family homes. Others are served by larger dumpsters. Ed Tanner, the city's operations manager, said those communities served by dumpsters will be encouraged to purchase special recycling dumpsters.

Full details on how that system will operate haven't been worked out.

John Hill, whose family owns Sulcer Real Estate Rentals, said he would have to gauge the level of interest among tenants before making a commitment to the city. Some of Sulcer's properties are served by dumpsters, while others use the roll-out garbage canisters.

"It would depend on the cost, I guess," Hill said Monday. "The kicker is going to be to get tenants to participate in it. It would take a lot of encouragement. Sometimes, they're more difficult to get to participate in something like than would be a homeowner."

Hill said his company will keep an open mind to the proposition.

Robert Rees, owner of Magic Touch Apartments, said he hasn't seen much evidence of anyone recycling, regardless of where they live.

"A lot of places don't have extra space to put a dumpster," Rees said. "And I'm one of them. Even if they would give it to me, I don't know where I could put it."

The city is pre-selling the recycling bins. The switch from the current Blue Bag program will take effect July 2.

Residents can purchase one recycling bin per household for $20 plus tax. They will be available at that price until they go into use July 1. The price increases to $50 plus tax after July 1.

This will be the first time that residents have been asked to pay anything for the opportunity of recycling. Since 2015, Abilities Unlimited provided the pickup service through a contract with the city, but has lost money from the beginning.

Bill Campbell, the city's communications director, said the city has incurred a lot of upfront costs to switch to the canisters and make the program more viable in the long run.

"We've been searching for a solution to keep our recycling program for more than a year, and there simply is no cheap option," Campbell said. "The city has spent upward of a half-million dollars on two new trucks and will spend close to that amount on recycling carts as we take over the process. Charging a nominal fee to purchase and own a cart is a way of recouping a small portion of that cost so that money can be used elsewhere.

Carts can be reserved at the collections window of the Municipal Center, online at www.jonesboro.org, by credit card, or by check mailed to City of Jonesboro Collections.

Abilities Unlimited also processes recycled materials and plans to continue that part of the program.

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