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To potentially keep down recycling costs Arab city leaders look to education

ARAB, Ala. — Arab city leaders want the folks there to recycle but some changes could cause a trickle-down effect that might end up costing those people money, so city leaders are working to change that and say they need them to participate.

The City of Arab has a contract with Republic Services for trash and recycling. A few months ago, a company representative talked with Mayor Bob Joslin about issues facing recycling nationwide: namely, that China wants to stop being the worlds’ dumping ground for garbage. “The fact that China’s entertained a new initiative called the Sword initiative, which is a reduction of recyclable material that they’re importing back to China,” Joslin said.

Enacted this year, ‘National Sword’ also set a tougher standard on the contamination percent of the imported baled material. Local companies have to spend more money to keep up, costs that could trickle down to the residents. “We have a contract that goes through May of 2020,” Joslin said, speaking of the company. He added that means Arab residents won’t see changes for now, but after that contract is up could be a different story.

Joslin said to potentially prevent that change in cost they need to do two things: increase the number of people who recycle, and increase the amount of usable recyclable material. “Only 30 percent of our people recycle, and of the recycled material they pick up, a good portion of that is not usable because it’s contaminated,” Joslin explained.

City leaders are working to figure out the best way to educate the residents on how they can help. “Between now and May of 2020, because if we don’t our costs are going to increase in our contract in 2020, because it’ll have to get rid of that material somehow,” Joslin said.

Joslin said they discussed creating a recycling center in the city like neighboring cities have, but said right now it isn’t the best option for the city.