By LorettaRodgers

Chester city officials have been initiating a city-wide recycling program that, if successful, could potentially save the city more than $1 million over the next five years.
Councilwoman Portia West, director of streets and public improvements, is leading the charge by encouraging recycling and organizing educational programs as an event to take place at City Hall in the near future.
“First and foremost, we are required by state law to recycle,” said West, “and there has been an ordinance on the books here in the city for 13 years, to which we must adhere.”
West knows it will take time for residents to “change their mindset” about recycling and actually learn what items are considered recyclable.
The city, like many surrounding municipalities, will use single stream or co-mingled recycling, which means that all paper, plastic, metal and other containers are mixed in a collection truck instead of being sorted by residents into separate containers. In single stream, the collection and processing systems are designed to handle the mixture of recyclables, with materials being separated at its final destination – the recovery facility.
It will not be necessary for residents to separate anything,” West said. “All recycling goes in the same container.”
Items to be recycled include cartons, aluminum/metal cans, #1 and #2 plastic bottles, jugs, phone books, newspapers, cardboard beverage containers, greeting cards, junk mail, paper bags, glass jars, bottles, loose metal jar lids, steel bottle caps, books, paper and toilet rolls.
West said recycling will take place every Wednesday, unless there is a major holiday and in that case, recycling will be collected the following week.
Residents are asked to continue using the blue recycling cans they have been using while the city waits for results from a grant application to buy additional blue cans. In the meantime, residents may obtain smaller red cans at City Hall during regular business hours.
Surrounding municipalities have been recycling for years and in all instances, public works employees and town officials have noticed that the number of recyclables have increased and solid waste trash has decreased.
In Aston Township, Commissioner Mike Higgins spent several months promoting recycling and, at one meeting, even brought examples of what is acceptable for recycling.
Higgins said in one case, a family that previously had two bags of trash and one recyclable container now has the reverse.
In neighboring Parkside Borough, a recycling program was initiated in January and each month since then, recycling tonnage has increased while the amount of garbage has decreased.
Trash collection has controversial in Chester for several months since the second trash collection pick-up day was discontinued.
Councilman Nafis Nichols, director of finance, said the cost savings of eliminating the second trash pick-up day is indeed $1 million over the course of the city’s five- year contract. “The first year we will save approximately $330,000,” he said.
West said it is a savings to the city, but reiterated that it’s necessary to obey the law about recycling.
“It’s a matter of educating the public,” West said, “and we intend to do just that.”

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