Chesapeake residents continue to fight to keep recycling curbside

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The people of Chesapeake attempt to save the city’s curbside recycling program and attempt to save the minds of city leaders.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Chesapeake city leaders are about a week away from approving a final budget. One of the elements that is not included in this plan is curbside recycling. The program officially ends in June.

Now a group of people are trying to save the service. They posted signs all over town and started an online petition.

“We are at 4,500 signatures so far. We have signs all over town,” said Lacy Shirey, who started Chesapeake Recycles. She said she and others wanted to stop the city-run service from shutting down in June.

On Tuesday, Shirey spoke at the Chesapeake City Council meeting as leaders discussed the upcoming budget.

“We believe this is a basic service the city should provide,” Shirey said.

In March, Chesapeake city leaders decided to end the curbside recycling program, shifting program funds to staffing shortages for waste management and public safety departments. City leaders gave people three options.

One of them is to use a private service.

“The cost of recycling for the city-run contract is approximately $5.35 per household per month. What we see through these private contractors is that your cost per household could be between $14 and $19 per month,” Shirey said.

Other options are to ask people to use a single bin and/or drop off their recyclables in designated places.

“Usually we see these become dumps. So they need to be occupied by the city, which comes at a cost to our city,” Shirey said. “And I doubt they are busy 24 hours a day, so that also requires security and all of that comes at a cost. ”

Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said private companies have strict specifications on what people can recycle, but he’s asking people to stay calm.

“I understand a lot of people are upset about this. Like I said, I wasn’t necessarily in favor of it, but let’s be patient. Let’s try, see if there’s a better way and if not and we’ll see if we get enough people to reconsider,” he said.

City leaders are due to vote on a final budget on May 10, 2022.

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