“Consider me your really annoying recycling friend.”

That’s Kelli Pendleton, President and CEO of the Christian County Chamber of Commerce, filling up my Facebook news feed with posts about Hopkinsville’s new curbside recycling program.

With pickups beginning Friday, Feb. 1, Hopkinsville Solid Waste Enterprise is managing the new program that seeks to promote the community’s sustainability efforts. For an additional $5.50 on customers’ monthly water bill, residents can receive an additional red garbage tote designated for curbside recycling. The tote is picked up on the customer’s regular waste collection day each week.

At that rate, the program is a steal that Hopkinsville residents can’t afford to pass up. For reference, Owensboro residents pay $40 each quarter for the same service – roughly $13 per month, more than double the rate in Hopkinsville.

The current program, first proposed at an Oct. 18 Hopkinsville Committee of the Whole meeting, was unanimously approved by the Hopkinsville City Council upon first reading on Thursday, Nov. 8.

At that meeting, my really annoying recycling friend voiced her support of the program.

“Recycling is great for the environment. It reuses materials, it reduces landfills. But, it also has one major benefit that often is overlooked and that is the impact that recycling can have on a community. Recycling programs also contribute to the overall health and well-being of the community,” Pendleton said.

“Sustainable companies or incorporations that use recycled materials will more likely be able to establish ties or open up branches in a town that has invested interest in recycling. Fewer landfills mean better property values.”

HSWE general manager Tony Sicari echoes that sentiment about landfills.

“There’s benefits for the environment, for the economy and the main thing is trying to reduce the waste stream,” Sicari said. “One of the main things is landfill space. Being in this business for 43 years, I can tell you landfills in the next 10, 15 years are going to become a real high commodity.”

He then said if the everyday person who doesn’t recycle regularly looks at their garbage can, he would guess that around 70 percent of the trash is recyclable. Recycling those products cuts down immensely on the general amount of waste and trash that would be dumped at a landfill — which is, again, better for the environment.

The initiative comes at a cost though. In order for it to work long-term, Hopkinsville residents have to embrace the program.

As of Friday, the first day of curbside pickup, more than 500 customers had signed up. That’s a great start, but merely a percentage of the 10,900 total customers HSWE serves.

For the record, Sicari reported that the first day of pickups went off without a hitch. He anticipates that Tuesday and Thursday will be the heaviest routes for pickup based on current demand.

This is an excellent program that our community will benefit from, and we should strive for it to grow long-term. In order to be sustainable, Hopkinsville needs 3,500-3,800 residents participating in the program.

So with that, let me add my voice to the chorus of your really annoying recycling friends.

Pick up the phone and call (270) 887-6245 or head over to hoptown.org/recycle today and sign up.

Brandon Cox is the publisher of the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville, Ky. He can be reached by email to bcox@kentuckynewera.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BrandonJCox.

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