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Committee to explore ideas for recycling

Some people like money. Some people like power.

And then there's Lockport Alderwoman Richelle J. Pasceri. Recycling rocks her world.

"Isn't it wonderful? I'm so excited," Pasceri said after the city's volunteer recycling committee held its first meeting last week.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker named the three-member panel, including Pasceri, after the first-term Common Council member kept pushing for action on the subject.

Tucker said he wants the committee to make a recommendation on how Lockport should start full curbside recycling by spring.

"When I got in, I asked the other aldermen why we didn't recycle. They said it was because of the cost. It made me angry," said Pasceri, R-1st Ward. "I didn't believe it. I didn't buy it."

Up until now, Lockport has avoided joining the world of plastic recycling bins and weekly pickups.

The city does collect newspapers and cardboard at the curb, but residents who want to recycle plastics, cans and bottles must drive to the county landfill on Route 93, where the Niagara County Refuse Disposal District has set up Dumpsters that are tended by Modern Disposal.

But change is coming, in part because the time is right. Lockport's contracts for taking the paper and cardboard, as well as its contract for incinerating the trash city garbage trucks collect, both expire early in 2009.

"Having the contracts up this spring really wipes the slate clean," Pasceri said.

She was named to the committee along with Jeff Tracy of Cherry Street and Kristen Cook of Remick Parkway. Tracy, a schoolteacher, is the chairman.

Tucker said, "I'm really handing the ball over to them. I don't have any preconceived notions or ideas. . . . My charge to them was, 'Put together a plan with a price and a way of educating the residents.' "

The mayor said he intends to talk to the union representing the city's Highways and Parks Department workers, whose duties include throwing trash into trucks and driving it to an incinerator, about recycling.

"Garbage collection is bargained-for work. We don't recycle, so that's not bargained-for work," Tucker said. "Garbage is still going to have to be picked up by our forces."

But that leaves the door open for a private company's workers and trucks to handle the curbside collection of recyclables.

"I'm not going to stop until we start recycling," Pasceri vowed.


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