Officials hope to revive city recycling program

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

City officials hope to resurrect a recycling program in Clovis, although efforts to do so have sputtered in the past.

For inspiration, officials are leaning toward neighbor Cannon Air Force Base, where a recycling program has been followed for 10 years, according to Cannon officials.

Steering the push in Clovis is Mayor David Lansford, who proposed city commissioners revisit the possibility of implementing a recycling program last week during a special budgetary meeting of the commission.

“In the past, we have been told that recycling is not really a revenue generator. It may be time to take a second look at whether or not (that is true),” Lansford said.

Clovis scored a recycling grant in 1992, and recycled materials for nearly six years before the program fizzled to include just aluminum and tin recycling, and for large businesses, cardboard.

Because the value of recyclables is rising, recycling in Clovis deserves at least a feasibility study, Lansford said.

Lansford envisions glass, plastics, cardboard and paper being spared from the cluttered Clovis landfill, along with aluminum and tin. The mayor said participation in a fledgling recycling program would likely be voluntary, but residents may be offered incentives for their involvement.

“We are in the infancy portion of taking a re-look at this, but it is one of the front burner issues for the city,” Lansford said.

City Commissioner Len Vohs agrees.

About two weeks ago, the newly elected official toured Cannon Air Force Base to research its recycling program. That program is being used as a model for the city, according to city officials.

On average, 73 tons of trash is recycled per month at Cannon. But for the base, recycling isn’t an option.

Federal regulations require recycling of office paper, corrugated cardboard and newspaper based on the population of an Air Force installation, according to Cannon officials. Additionally, the Air Force requires its installations to divert or recycle metals, plastic, glass, used oil, lead acid batteries and tires.

Last year at Cannon, 28 percent of solid waste, including cans, bottles, paper, cardboard, books, scrap and wood, was diverted from the Clovis landfill as a result of recycling, according to data collected through the 27th Civil Engineer Squadron, Environmental Flight, Solid Waste Program.

The bulk of construction material and debris from Cannon also was spared from the landfill, officials said.

In addition, tree branches and shrubs at the base are often converted into mulch.

“I think it would benefit the city (to recycle). We need to take better care of our environment and our resources,” Vohs said.

“Maybe the program can pay for itself.”