An Ashland woman has started an online petition to ask the City of Ashland for curbside recycling pickup.
Noelle Horsfield, 38, began the petition Tuesday. As of press time, 66 had signed it.
Horsfield said she believes curbside recycling would “bring us up to date with the rest of the country. I feel it is a step in the right direction in terms of making the city more progressive and attractive to businesses and people.”
Horsfield said she was spurred to start the petition after learning Ashland’s drop-off recycling program could be in danger because of the costs of removing trash and other unacceptable items often left at the bins. Curbside pickup would allow the city to better control what recyclables are gathered, she said, and would create more incentive for residents to separate other household trash from reusable materials.
“Why not take a step forward and make it easier for people just because it is the right thing to do as a responsible citizen of the planet?” she asked.
Horsfield suggested the city take other steps to promote recycling, such as providing recycling receptacles next to trash bins in public areas including downtown and in parks.
Ashland officials say they tried to introduce curbside recycling, but residents didn’t want to pay for the service. In tight economic times, any expanded recycling program would have to be “budget neutral,” said City Manager Steve Corbitt.
In 2010, the city failed to sign up the 1,000 needed to start a pilot recycling program. Only about 370 Ashland solid-waste customers returned forms to the city — sent out in water bills — stating they would be willing to pay a $5 fee for the new service and would participate in the pilot.
“We just didn’t get the buy-in. They all wanted it, but they didn’t want to pay for it,” said Corbitt, whose household was among those that signed up. He said the city can certainly try again — if there is public interest.
“We aren’t going to do it at the expense of some other service that we already offer,” he said. “There is a perception, which is false, that it (recycling) makes money. It does not. It costs money.”
Horsfield said she knows she is probably fighting an uphill battle, but wanted to at least try. She started the petition to gauge public support before approaching officials.
“I felt like I needed some kind of support to show that people other than myself care about this,” she said, “I think people out there are interested in seeing the city do something like this, but everybody kind of has that attitude of ‘How can I do this? I am just one person.’”
Based on comments from those who have signed the petition, Horsfield has at least some support from fellow residents.
“Lugging our recycling across town to the specified Dumpsters is a pain, especially when it is found stuffed full of unrecyclable trash! Most cities provide curbside recycling. It’s time Ashland joined the eco-revolution and get on board,” wrote Nicolette Pauley, who signed the petition on Wednesday.
“Unlike states such as Michigan and California, there is zero incentive to recycle. If we are able to look toward the ‘bright future’ promised by our city’s slogan, curbside recycling must be part of that vision,” wrote Jonathan Payne, who signed the petition Thursday.
The petition is at change.org/petitions/city-of-ashland-kentucky-department-of-public-works-begin-curbside-recycling-in-ashland-kentucky.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.