QUINCY -- More than a month after started, Quincy city officials say its recycling opt-in program is sustainable, but changes may need to be made.
The program began May 1, and more than 5,290 customers have enrolled. Customers pay a $5 per month fee, which is part of their utility bill. Quincy residents interested in signing up for the program should call the utility billing department at 217-228-4580.
Alderman Anthony Sassen, R-4, said he has heard nothing but positive things about the program. Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore agreed.
"I think it is a tremendous response considering that our back-of-the-napkin estimate was 2,000 customers," said Moore, who added that having so many residents participate ensures its long-term viability.
"I think it is wise to look at the program because there have been obvious hiccups with it as we were having thousands of Quincy residents coming into City Hall to sign up for the program over the course of a couple of days," Moore said. He also said any proposed changes to the program, such as distribution of the annual decal, would be "tweaks to make it a better program for residents."
Aldermen Dave Bauer, D-2, and Eric Entrup, R-1, agreed that the response has exceeded expectations. They also said the city's elected leaders should continue to discuss the program for possible improvements.
"Education on that is going to be important," said Bauer, who suggested that the Quincy City Council look at the entire recycling program again in the coming months.
Entrup said he would prefer if the City Council waited until mid-November to review the program. "We have a program up and running, but nothing is necessarily set in stone," Entrup said. He said he hopes customers will continue to participate because larger numbers will ensure the program's future.
"I know a lot of people are frustrated about the changes, but when I explain to them about how close we were to not having a recycling program at all, then they are happy to have this program," Entrup said.
Alderman Katie Awerkamp, D-6, said she is aware that some residents continue to be frustrated. Chief among those frustrations is the change to what materials are no longer accepted -- including glass -- which in the past could be dropped off at Quincy Recycling's location on York Street.
"We've been recycling in Quincy for years, and now all these things have changed," Awerkamp said. "People are now having to go to other communities, including driving to Palmyra, to drop off their glass. That is a frustration for some people."
She added that many of the changes to the recycling program were spurred by shifts in international and national recycling markets, not because of decisions made in Quincy. Continuing to educate the public about those changes is important, Awerkamp said.
She agreed that the program should be reviewed, and changed, if necessary.
"I don't see this is the end of the recycling program," Awerkamp said. "I think there are people who are very optimistic about the program's future."