Fenwick starts town-wide recycling effort

On Friday, Aug. 24, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to accept a town-wide, two-year recycling contract with the Delaware Solid Waste Authority. Participation by the town, though voluntary among individual citizens, was dubbed “highly desirable” by Mayor Audrey Serio.

Service will begin on Friday, Oct. 5, noted Town Manager Antho ny Carson. “In the months of October through April,” Carson continued, “we will have bi-weekly service on Fridays. From May through September, we will have weekly service, again on Fridays. We will have one 65-gallon container that DSWA will provide to each [participant].” These wheeled bins will be delivered on Oct. 5 to residents who sign up soon.

“One thing I want to stress is that this is a truly voluntary program,” Carson said. “We will have a registration form here at Town Hall for residents who are interested. It would only take two minutes to sign your name address and phone number. If homeowners don’t sign up in October, they can sign up in November or December.”

The DSWA utilizes a 48-hour turnaround, providing a receptacle within two days to residents who come into the program later than Oct. 5. Those households will then begin the program on the following designated Friday.

A change that was made by DSWA a week prior to the meeting — one that Carson described as “a positive one” — was the elimination of a smaller blue bin for glass. “Everything will go into the one big container,” he said. “You won’t have to do any sorting. It will be very convenient for the resident.”

As a result of the new program, the recycling drop-off station located beside and behind Town Hall will be removed in October. It has been the source of complaints about overflowing recyclables, broken glass and noise.

“We want to do as much in the educational process as we can,” said Carson of the new program. “We will have printed material that will give you the schedule. We will be able to hand them out to residents to have rental properties. You will be able to put those in your rental units so that renters will have a calendar, and they will know when (the pick-up day) is. The good thing is, during the summer months, it will be every week.”

The cost of the program is $1 per pick-up, which, with the bi-weekly and weekly schedule, will cost the town $34 per year for each participating household.

Residents in the program will wheel out the bin to the roadway adjacent to their home on the morning of the designated Friday, and wheel it back on the property when not in use.

Councilwoman Vickie Carmean inquired about part-time resident participation, for those property owners who are not year-round residents.

“DSWA was unable to make a distinction of whether they pick up this week, or next week or next month,” Carson responded. “The $34 is representative of the bi-weekly and weekly program.”

According to DSWA, a participation rate of 35 percent is considered a “good” turnout for a town the size of Fenwick Island.

“The more information we get out and encourage this to the residents,” noted Carson, “the more it will actually help the town, and possibly have a savings on top of what we’re paying, because our (garbage) tonnage will be reduced. Any tonnage that has currently been going into our containers, we were paying for that.”

“We’re hoping that the people who don’t utilize the recycling bins in town now will now be able to participate, due to the convenience,” said Carson.

“The people who did not recycle — which I know are a lot,” said Serio, “have the opportunity now. The cans are there, and you don’t have to separate anything. I think we will find that there is a large amount of trash that will be recycled rather than having the town pick it up.”

Carson also urged that all participants utilize the program to its fullest. “We certainly don’t want to be paying for pick-ups if there is no trash being placed into the bins each week,” he said.

Residents can sign up for the DSWA Recycling program now at the Town Hall, located at 800 Coastal Highway in Fenwick Island. For more information, stop in or call (302) 539-3011.