Plans to begin testing two new waste collection programs designed to incentivize recycling are scheduled for November. The Sheridan City Council passed a resolution that authorized city staff to conduct a pilot “pay-as-you-throw” program in May and appropriated $75,000 to the project. The resolution also authorized staff to design a pilot organic waste collection program for local businesses.

Earlier this year, city Utilities Director Dan Roberts projected Sheridan could significantly increase its waste diversion rates if the city is willing to put more resources into waste-diversion efforts. Councilor Jacob Martin proposed the two programs as potential diversion efforts. “Our goal with these pilot programs is to see what the potential is to kind of meet some of these projections that we’re looking at,” Roberts said.

The potential savings from these programs — if they were implemented city wide — would likely be realized in the long term, Roberts said. By diverting waste away from its landfill, the city would extend the life of the current landfill and avoid the costly process of having to expand it. Initially, Roberts said staff wanted to include 200 residences in the pilot PAYT program and 25 businesses in the organic collection program. Roberts said the staff is recommending the city solicit residential participation along one of Sheridan’s existing collection routes that travels along Big Horn Avenue and into the Woodland Park Subdivision. “The reason we chose that (route) as a pilot group is it covers a broad spectrum of demographics and land uses,” Roberts said.

That route spans 780 residences, Roberts said, and could result in a much larger pilot program than the city had anticipated. However, in analyzing the costs of working with that larger group, Roberts said city staff realized the program could accommodate more participation without exceeding its budget. Under the proposed pilot program, city residents along that route would choose between 95 gallon trash containers, 65 gallon containers and 35 gallon containers; residents who opt for the 65 gallon container would qualify for a $40 rebate at the end of the six-month pilot program, and residents who select the 35-gallon bin would be eligible for a $75 rebate.

Those rebate values would only be available to residents who participated through the entire six-month pilot with the same bin size — some residents may qualify for lower rebates, Roberts said. “During the process, people can switch bin sizes throughout, so you might have a combination of both,” Roberts said. “And people will have the opportunity to sign up at any time.”

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