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Lawton takes applications for recycling program

(Source City of Lawton) (Source City of Lawton)
(Source City of Lawton) (Source City of Lawton)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -The City of Lawton is now accepting applications to be included in a new recycling program.

In its initial phase, the new curbside service would only be offered to homes or duplexes, but the program won't launch at all unless at least 5,000 people sign up. In the beginning, a maximum of 8,500 people can sign up for the $7 a month recycling program.

Each household that subscribes to the curbside pickup will get a 95-gallon blue recycle cart to fill with plastic, metals, paper and cardboard. The recyclable material can be mixed together in the bin.

City officials think it can make a huge difference in what goes into the landfill, but only if it catches on citywide.

Each household usually throws away about 10 pounds of recyclable material every week, or about 500 pounds a year. If 20,000 homes to join in, that comes to about 10 million pounds a year. Lawton officials say the next they cut out a new cell in the landfill, it’s estimated to cost around $11 million. The City of Lawton says a cell lasts about 10 years before a new one is needed.

Lawton Public Works director Larry Wolcott says in talking with members of the community, he believes it won't be difficult to reach the minimum number of participants.

"We won't know until we get there, but all the input that I have gotten has been positive and we have gotten it from several different directions," Wolcott said.

Wolcott says in the next several months the company running the program will be going into Lawton elementary schools to talk with the children.

"Kids are more interested in recycling typically than adults can be, and you know they could take this sign-up sheet home and talk their parents into signing up. They can be better salesman than an actual salesman," Wolcott said.

Mike Gaver works for Progressive Waste Solutions, the company that will be running the program. Gaver says they will be purchasing brand new equipment just for Lawton residents.

"It will take us 120 days to buy the truck and the equipment. The polycarts and things like that so that we can have the equipment on hand set it and start servicing those accounts,” Gaver said.

Gaver says they always account for about 15 percent of garbage being thrown in the recycling bins, but the company expects to have almost no misuse of the bins because it is an optional program for individual households.

"You have a polycart that is separate that you actually control versus the dumpsters that were out in the open, so generally we don't see any type of contamination," Gaver said.

Gaver says he believes this program is just the start to recycling catching on in the Lawton community.

"That's why we started this pilot program so we could get to that point. The reason we can only service 8,500 homes is because we can't handle any more material the way we are doing it now. At that point, we are going to have to come up with a way to build a sort center here in Lawton," Gaver said.

Citizens interested in signing up can do so on the city's website, by filling out the application they receive with their utility bill or at city buildings, like City Hall and the library. Call the City of Lawton at 580-581-3413 for more information.

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