Thursday, May 26, 2022

Curbside recycling still coming to Wrightsville Beach, just not until after the tourists leave

A public hearing will be held in summer. If that goes well, a provider could be chosen for a fall start date

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Options for curbside recycling will get a public hearing this summer for Wrightsville Beach residents, but don’t expect a program to be up and running until the tourist season calms down.

Read more: Curbside recycling could be coming to Wrightsville Beach

Currently, Wrightsville Beach has no recycling pick-up options; instead, New Hanover County maintains several large recycling containers located by Town Hall.

Curbside recycling is currently not an option in Wrightsville Beach, but that could change after the summer. (Port City Daily photo / Michael Praats)
Curbside recycling is currently not an option in Wrightsville Beach, but that could change after the summer. (Port City Daily photo/Michael Praats)

In November, the Board of Alderman discussed the issue and agreed to send out requests for proposals (RFP) from three companies: Waste Industries, Waste Management and Pink Trash. The RFP would include 95-gallon recycling containers, transportation and recycling.

According to Mayor Bill Blair, several options get discussed at a public hearing over the summer.

“It’s still on the radar, and we’ll have a public hearing on (curbside recycling) this July,” Blair said. “We’ve got several options, and we’ll be able to layout all the plans and what the costs would be.”

One of the issues will likely be determining how many residents use the recycling service, and how to bill those who do.

“We really want to figure out how to handle it first, and get it up and running, and then see how to handle it in season.”

According to Town Manager Tim Owens, under state statutes the town cannot directly charge residents. One option, Owens said, would be absorbing the cost into the town’s budget or working the cost into the tax base. Owens said these were some of the options that would be discussed this summer.

Since residents could legally opt-out of any recycling program, the town will have to determine how many of its 1,640 residential customers would be served, since the total number could affect the cost. According to Owens, the town plans to deliver recycling bins to all residents in the hopes as many as possible will take advantage of the service.

Blair said the town will also have to work out “a few minor things,” including frequency of pick-ups and routing.

The major concern, Blair said, was giving the program a fair shot under good conditions. That means waiting for the summer tourist season to run its course.

“We want this thing to succeed, but starting it in the middle of the chaos, that’s not ideal,” Blair said. “With such an influx of guests over the summer, it would cause some other issues–we really want to figure out how to handle it first, and get it up and running, and then see how to handle it in season.”

Blair said that if public hearings went well and the town selects a provider, service could begin in the fall. That would give the town time to plan for the summer population boom, including how to handle recycling from multi-unit residences and hotels.

“It’s not that difficult for us to get it going, it just requires some thought first,” Blair said.


Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at ben@localvoicemedia.com, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001

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