Smaller trash bins, smaller bills?
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.