by Heather Tomlinson
The City of Somerset joined the “green” team this week with its official kick-off of its curbside recycling program.
A number of people gathered near Somerset City Hall Tuesday morning to hear from local dignitaries about the events leading up to the city’s new curbside recycling pick-up program, which has been in the planning stages since the first of this year after several city councilors asked that the city look into modeling its own program after the county’s recycling service.
“One person that I give credit to, is (Pulaski County Solid Waste Coordinator) Gerald Hines,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler during the ceremony. “... (Hines) is the number on person that’s dealt with recycling, is passionate about it, has guided us.”
Girdler and most of Somerset City Council sat in front of a row of the city’s newly-delivered 36-gallon recycling bins, which are to be distributed for those city residents who are not in apartments.
Girdler said the first shipment of 2,000 containers should be delivered within the next couple days, and he said the city expects another shipment of 2,000 containers within the next 30 days.
“It’s going to be done in phases,” said Girdler.
Apartment residents in September received smaller bins that are easier to find space for and easier to carry to the curb.
“This is a win-win situation for everybody,” said Eastern Kentucky PRIDE Field Representative Mark Davis. “For the city council to have that kind of vision, and the city and county to work together on this.”
The city-county partnership was the focus of much of Tuesday’s celebration.
“This is a great day,” said Hines during the ceremony. “There’s no way to explain what (Girdler) and city council has done.”
Hines further explained Tuesday evening that the state has few instances of a county and city both working to provide free curbside recycling pick-up for residents.
“People I don’t think really grasp the importance of this until it’s in the works,” said Hines. “It’s exciting to see what the city’s able to do with this.”
Hines, who has worked to clean up the county and push its recycling program — an effort that can be deemed a success, as the county now has its own curbside recycling service, along with oft-used recycling trailers placed in communities across Pulaski County — said city and county officials are working together simply for the betterment of all citizens.
Girdler echoed those thoughts during the ceremony Tuesday.
“This is a joint program,” said Girdler. “We do cooperate on a lot of things with the county. ... When it comes down to it, we’re here for the citizens.”
“We’ve got a very strong working relationship with the county on solid waste and recycling,” said Girdler on Tuesday evening.
Girdler said Hines helped city officials work to find a solution to questions about the feasibility of using the same sized containers the county currently uses. That’s where the 36-gallon containers and smaller 28-quart containers came in.
“(Hines) and I worked together to find a solution that we thought would work better for Somerset,” said Girdler.
Girdler has said in the past the recycling program will help cut down on hundreds of thousands of dollars in landfill costs for the city.
Pick-up for Somerset began in September for those who have the smaller bins. Pick-up service for all residents will be every two weeks on the same day as regular trash pick-up.
“This was always a hope for me,” said Hines to the Commonwealth Journal earlier this summer, about the city’s program. “Everybody’s been on the same page on this. ... I talked with (Girdler) for a couple years on this, and we’re just proud to be a part of it and we welcome (the city) in.”