BROOKSVILLE — Green ribbons are popping up on trees all over Brooksville.
Their purpose: They signify residents who have embraced the city's new curbside recycling program, which begins Wednesday.
On that day, and on subsequent first Wednesdays each month, city utility workers will collect plastic, aluminum and tin, contained in transparent blue plastic bags that have been donated by Wal-Mart.
On second Wednesdays, they will collect newspapers. On third Wednesdays, folded cardboard will be accepted.
Because of liability concerns, no glass will be accepted.
Until now, city residents have had to take recyclables to county-provided bins around town.
So far, interest in the city program has been building slowly. Of some 4,100 city utility customers, including about 450 businesses, 300 have signed up for the voluntary recycling.
Jeanne G. Moore, management analyst for the city, said she was enthusiastic about that number and hopeful that more residents will catch on.
"What I'm hoping," Moore said, "is that once citizens see how this is a convenience … that we'll have everyone recycle."
She said there are several good reasons for city residents to participate.
"For recycling, there is no extra cost to residents," she said. "Trash pickup is part of the (utility) bill, even if you don't use it."
The Wednesday recycling pickups will not coincide with regular sanitation collections, so residents can be assured that the recyclables won't end up in the county landfill, Moore emphasized.
The recycled material will be sent to the county's recycling center. Because of the current weak market for recyclables, the city will receive no money for the materials — at least initially. But there are still benefits, Moore said.
"With less going into the landfill … we should be saving space, and sanitation trucks are not making so many trips to the landfill. Eventually, we will save money," she said.
Hernando County recently signed a $5.5 million contract for construction of a landfill cell, necessitated by a growing amount of refuse.
Wal-Mart has donated 20 recycling bags for each participant. When more are needed, a participant can request additional bags on a notation contained in their monthly utility bill or contact the utility department at (352) 540-3810. Meter readers will deliver the bags.
"We're trying to make this convenient and easy, and, if it's that, you will participate," Moore said.
The Wal-Mart Distribution Center on Kettering Road generates as much as 4 tons of cardboard per day, the sale of which will offset the cost of providing free collection bags to the city, Moore said. She noted that all of Wal-Mart's recycling proceeds are donated to worthy local organizations.
Beth Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.