Coastal towns consider recycling programs


South Bethany residents seeking convenient recycling options may want to go ahead and sign up for the Delaware Solid Waste Authority’s new statewide curbside recycling program.

At the town’s monthly council meeting on July 14, Mayor Gary Jayne expressed doubt that the town would consider signing up anytime soon as a municipality, saying that their existing trash-hauling contract with BFI had two years left to run and would likely prove significantly more expensive to renegotiate now with curbside recycling.

The response came to questions from property owner Sandy Roberts, who wondered if the town might follow suit in what Milford has already done and what neighboring Fenwick Island could do as soon as next week — vote to incorporate curbside recycling townwide, with the cost passed on to individual property owners.

“No matter what you decide to do, some people won’t be happy,” Roberts allowed, reiterating the concerns expressed by Fenwick Island Town Council Member Harry Haon that the resort area’s seasonal and rental population wouldn’t take to curbside recycling well enough to make it worthwhile for the towns.

For her part, Roberts said she was used to curbside recycling at her other home and would like to have it in South Bethany as well. The question was whether the town would be as gung-ho about the idea and sign up for curbside recycling on the municipal level.

That move would save individual property owners about $2 per month on the cost of curbside recycling with the DSWA — down to just $4 per month, instead of the $6 per month cost that those who sign up as individuals will pay. The fees are prepaid on a six-month basis — $36 for individuals, or $24 in municipalities that sign up as a whole. (Yard-waste pick-up adds $3 per month to that cost.)

Jayne said the council hadn’t previously discussed curbside recycling programs at any significant length and didn’t rule out further consideration of the DSWA proposal. But other residents were quick to offer the alternative suggestion of — perhaps ironically — using the nearby recycling drop-off center at Fenwick Island Town Hall.

DSWA officials haven’t talked about eliminating the drop-off locations, which are used by residents of neighboring towns, as well as those outside municipal limits. But despite the protestations of ease expressed in South Bethany last week, many area residents greeted the news of statewide curbside recycling with both relief and excitement.

Bethany Beach resident Lois Lipsett said she’d signed up for the service immediately upon reading about it in the Coastal Point on July 14, after waiting a decade for curbside recycling, and had already received her recycling materials on July 17.

“We owe it to our children, grandchildren, and all who will be born to help save our planet. Recycling is being made effortless,” Lipsett said. “We owe it to each other to participate.”

Whether or not their individual municipalities participate in townwide efforts, all Delaware property owners and residents now have that “effortless” option. They can sign up as individuals on the DSWA Web site at www.delawarerecycles.com if they have a credit card or use the PayPal service, or with a mail-in form on the DSWA brochure for the program.

Residents with general questions about this, or any other DSWA program, should call the Citizen’s Response line at 1-800-404-7080 or visit www.dswa.com.