Smaller trash bins, smaller bills?

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Byjor­dan Gass-pooré jgasspoore@states­man.com Con­tact Jor­dan Gass-pooré at 445-3602.

San Mar­cos res­i­dents may be putting their money where their trash is if the city adopts a new solid waste ini­tia­tive next week.

San Mar­cos would join more than eight other Texas cities, in­clud­ing Austin, that of­fer tiered costs for garbage carts: the larger the cart, the higher the monthly fee.

Cur­rently, all San Mar­cos house­holds have a 96-gal­lon trash con­tainer, but in a re­cent city sur­vey, 62 per­cent of 129 re­spon­dents said their trash carts are larger than needed. More than three out of four re­spon­dents said they would sup­port the tiered pay struc­ture.

Ini­tial in­ter­est in the “pay as you throw” pro­gram came from fo­cus groups the city’s mu­nic­i­pal solid waste task force held this year.

The ini­tia­tive, which would start with a pi­lot pro­gram in a part of the city, would al­low house­holds to choose a 64gal­lon cart, but they would have to pay be­tween $60 and $65 to get the con­tainer. The city hasn’t de­ter­mined the lower monthly rate for that smaller cart. The monthly rate for the 96-gal­lon cart is $16.69.

The new rules wouldn’t ap­ply to apart­ment com­plexes be­cause pri­vate con­trac­tors pro­vide trash col­lec­tion for apart­ments.

Pro­po­nents of the plan say charg­ing by the cart size may en­cour­age re­cy­cling and com­post­ing, which would re­duce the amount of trash go­ing to land­fills.

Waste from homes in San Mar­cos to­tals 9,480 tons per year, ex­clud­ing Texas State Univer­sity, ac­cord­ing to the city’s com­pre­hen­sive solid waste plan. The city hasn’t es­ti­mated the amount of solid waste that may be re­duced by the ini­tia­tive, of­fi­cials said.

“Peo­ple need to be mind­ful of the waste gen­er­ated from their pur­chases and ex­tend the life of land­fills,” said Amy Kir­win, chair­woman of the San Mar­cos Mu­nic­i­pal Solid Waste Task Force.

Sa­muel Olivo, also known as the Sixth Street Cow­boy, rides his mule, Mula, along Congress Av­enue to­ward the Capi­tol on Thurs­day. ‘This is my car,’ Olivo said. ‘It is my job to be the cow­boy down­town.’ Olivo stops to let peo­ple pho­to­graph him, say­ing he’s made friends from coun­tries all over the world. Al­most a year ago, Olivo got a DWI on horse­back and says he has since turned his life around.

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