City recycling decision is terrific news
Growing up, my family was very strict about recycling. My hometown limited each household to just three bags of trash, picked up once a week. That's very limiting for a family of six … unless you could do unlimited recycling, which we whole-heartedly embraced. Otherwise, we would have to pay for each extra bag of trash, which wasn't cheap.
My college town was the same way – limited trash pickup, but residents could have unlimited recyclables. No problem – I grew up with the habit.
I was in for a bit of a shock when I moved to Yuma. No curbside recycling? I was more than a bit floored.
So the decision this week by the Yuma City Council to finally start curbside recycling was welcome news, and long overdue.
Yuma's curbside recycling is available to single-family homes within the city limits. The service will be offered at no cost to homeowners, who will have a big blue bin at their homes for recyclables.
Regular trash pickup will be reduced to once a week, with recyclables picked up on the traditional second pickup day later in the week.
How does this work? It's pretty simple – recyclables go in one bin, everything else goes in the other.
What can be recycled? Cans, paper, glass and plastics – which is a big chunk of what we throw away each day.
It's a win-win. Less trash will go into the landfill, which is great for the environment. And, because less trash is going in the landfill, the city will actually save some money – estimated around $174,000 a year –because they won't be putting as much in the landfill. And there's potential to make some money, too, from the return on the recyclables themselves.
Yuma isn't alone in this. About 34.1 percent of all trash is currently recycled in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
That number isn't big enough, however, when you consider that annually, Americans generate around 250 million tons of trash.
But the advantages to recycling are many. According to the EPA, recycling reduces carbon dioxide emissions, and leads to cleaner land, air and water.
Yuma has offered recycling drop-off locations for the last several years, but the curbside program makes it that much easier for residents to participate, and that's terrific news, both economically and environmentally.