Voluntary curbside recycling could be available to Clark County residents by March.

The Clark County Solid Waste Management District board voted unanimously Wednesday to proceed with County Commissioner Mike Moore’s plan to provide voluntary curbside recycling to county residents — including the city of Charlestown — not covered under the district’s mandatory curbside recycling program in several municipalities.

Commissioner Ralph Guthrie said the program is “very well worth trying.”

The program depends upon participation by at least 4,000 county households, which will make the cost feasible to the county and the contractor in charge of collection. The district board is hoping for participation by 30 percent of the unincorporated county population, a little more than 13,000 households.

The cost to participate depends upon the number of households that are interested.

“The more you have, the cheaper it will be,” Moore said.

The district estimates a cost of $45 to $55 per home.

“I don’t see how you can lose,” said County Commissioner Ed Meyer, who serves on the district board.

The district’s effort to provide curbside recycling will begin with a household survey. The county will mail forms, which homeowners can return indicating their desire to participate in the program. The district also plans to set up a Web site, where residents can submit the form online.

“If we’re interested in making this an environmentally sound project, the numbers have to be there,” Moore said. “If there is only 21 percent participation, then gas prices (and emissions) will outweigh the benefits.”

He offered his cell phone number at the meeting for any residents with questions about the voluntary program, stressing that it’s different from the program serving the municipalities, because no one is obligated to participate.

“I’ll be dealing with a whole different kind of customer,” he said. “They like it, they want it, and they’re not calling me up an telling me to go you know where (for making them pay).”

Moore said he hopes to have a household count for by the next Solid Waste District Board meeting Feb. 28.

While the district is collecting the number of interested households, it will also draft a proposal for bids from waste and recycling contractors, such as Inland Services, which provides curbside recycling to the residents of Jeffersonville, Clarksville, Sellersburg and Borden.

Sharon Marra, executive director of the solid waste district, would be responsible for collecting checks from homeowners involved in the program. The district would retain 50 percent of the revenue.

“I think it’s beautiful,” Meyer said.

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