A recycling experiment being conducted in the Castle Ridge subdivision is showing clear increases in recycling rates, according to the program supervisor.

Epiphany Ramos, who is coordinating the program for the city, told council members Monday night that the number of people recycling has increased by 46 percent since the program began at the end of October.

Those increases have allowed automated trash trucks to spend less time servicing households and has led to lower labor costs, she said.

Ramos said about 29 percent less trash is being sent to the Sarpy County Landfill from Castle Ridge, with recycling rates up to almost 19 percent and diversions totals up more than 50 percent.

“These are really big numbers,” she said.

She said partial numbers for January show a continuing positive trend.

Ramos said about 10 percent of Castle Ridge residents declined to take part in the trial program, almost always because they deemed the trash carts too big.

She said that concern appears to be borne out by the fact that no participant has ordered additional carts, suggesting the existing carts are more than adequate for most households.

She said discussions are underway to offer a variety of sizes, which she expects will increase participation rates even further.

The size and bright colors of the carts drew mild concern from Councilman Paul Cook who said the carts have become a dominant visual feature of the Castle Ridge neighborhood.

Councilwoman Carol Blood welcomed the trial program as an example of good planning, in which the city experiment on a small scale before taking a program citywide.

Ramos said she would continue to present reports as the program advances.

In other matter, council:

• Approved a low bid of $60,400 for the demolition of the interior of a building at 1500 Wall St. The building will be the site of Bellevue’s new City Hall, and the demolition is the first sign of progress toward that goal.

• Acknowledged settlement of a $100,000 claim against the city involving a traffic accident. The city was responsible for paying $46,000 of that amount.

• Voted to permit construction of a car dealership at 22nd Street and Sautter Avenue.

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