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Curbside recycling test in Spring Hill will begin in May

Some Spring Hill residents in May will become part of the county's pilot curbside recycling program.

County commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the yearlong, $224,000 program in the 34608 ZIP code, which includes much of the central part of Spring Hill _ about 10,400 homes.

The voluntary program, run by Waste Management, starts May 13. It will add no new charges to trash bills during the pilot phase, but a fee may be added if the program is extended.

Stephanie Burkhardt, assistant utilities director, told commissioners a successful recycling program could extend the practical life of the county's landfill, which currently has about 30 years of space available.

"This is not smoke and mirrors," Burkhardt said.

The county already has equipment in place for handling the sorting and shipping of recyclable garbage, she said, and although the service may never pay for itself in the marketplace, it should prove valuable in saving landfill space.

The funding for the curbside recycling program is available because the county no longer has to spend roughly the same amount to send refuse to Pasco County's incinerator.

If the program succeeds, officials have said they probably would expand to another 21,350 homes in Spring Hill.

_ Information from Times files was used in this report.