Boise is revamping its commercial recycling program in an effort to get more businesses to sign up. Right now, there are 4,000 commercial trash customers, but only 1,000 of them participate in the recycling program. That means a lot more trash goes into the landfill. Catherine Chertudi is the solid waste programs manager for Boise Public Works. “Businesses do dispose of seven time more trash then a residence," she explains. "So there’s a huge opportunity to divert those materials to recycling.”
Jim Spanberger was the first to sign up for Boise’s new program for commercial recycling. “It’s a win/win for everyone,” he says. Spanberger owns Raedeans family restaurant in Boise. The business has plenty to recycle, like cardboard. “Our cans, our newspapers that are left here, a lot of our milk comes in plastic bottles now.”
Spanberger said his daughter wanted him to recycle at the business. But commercial recycling was too expensive, $29 a month for a small cart. So he and his daughter would take items that could be recycled home to put in their residential containers. Spanberger says now that Boise’s dropping the small cart rate to .53 cents a month, he can afford to recycle for his business.
Not only is it cheaper, Spanberger says it might even save him some money. Restaurants are charged for each trash pickup. Sometimes that's three or four times a week. He says through recycling, he’ll generate less trash, which means he may pay less over time. “This way you could reduce your cost by recycling and think about how much better the world’s gonna be in the future.”
City officials hope the new rates – which are based on container size and frequency of use - will convince 70 to 80 percent of businesses to start recycling. Boise Mayor David Bieter says lower prices should convince some businesses to take part. “People want to do the right thing but we need to make it as easy as we can to do that, and as cost effective as we can.”
Larger carts and dumpsters will cost less too, around $5 less than current prices. The new prices are good for businesses, non-profits, churches, schools, hospitals and restaurants.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio