Green Waste Processing Equipment Not Working for Months, Mayor Bartlett Proposes Changes

In a city council meeting Thursday afternoon, Mayor Dewey Bartlett and other city officials discussed the mayor's proposed changes to the city's green waste removal program, at length.

The mayor was one of many who said he wants to explore all options for the green waste removal program before moving forward.

"I think that it would be a better situation for us to consider alternatives to what we have tried to do, which is not working," the mayor said.

Issues have come to light -- just this week -- of equipment not working properly in the green waste recycling process. Specifically, a de-bagger that is not effectively removing the waste from plastic bags residents are told to use, and a wood chipper that also has not been working since early 2013. Those two issues have left green waste that should have been recycled, incinerated with regular trash at the city's burn site.

As those problems have been present for months, many just learned of them this week, leading some city council members to raise questions over why they were not told.

"We are still diverting that material from the waste stream, which is what TARE and the city intended to do. The process is just a little bit different in this kind of interim period, as we figure out a potential equipment solution or a program solution," said city spokesperson, Liz Hunt, defending the program's integrity.

The mayor's proposal would allow green waste to be picked up with regular trash and still have it appropriately processed and recycled.

A meeting is planned for Tuesday afternoon to discuss options for the program, moving forward.