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Public Works Partnering with Marshall to Analyze Curbside Recycling Pilot Program

The City of Huntington’s Public Works Department is collaborating with Marshall University faculty members and students to craft a curbside recycling pilot program that is proposed to launch sometime in 2018.

In February, a postcard-sized recycling questionnaire will accompany city residents’ refuse fee bills. The questions will focus on a resident’s recycling practices, their preferences on how a recycling program is structured and their level of willingness to pay for the service.

Residents will be asked to mail the postage-paid questionnaires back to the city, where they will be turned over to Marshall Sociology Professor Dr. Marty Laubach and his students for data entry and analysis. The questionnaires will be coded so Laubach and his students will know the neighborhoods in which respondents live. That information will be used to identify neighborhoods that will be most likely to participate in a curbside recycling pilot program.

“The City of Huntington remains committed to offering our residents a robust recycling program,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “My administration’s mantra has been to measure twice and cut once. If we’re going to be successful in bringing a world-class recycling program to Huntington, we must approach it in a business-like, calculated fashion.

“The talents of Marshall University’s faculty members and students will bring a greater depth of analysis to this endeavor that the city could not reach on its own. We are extremely excited about this ongoing partnership that we have forged with Marshall.”

The recycling questionnaire that will be mailed to residents and the analysis that will occur over the next few months is part of a project hosted by the Community Research and Teaching

Experiences (CORTEX) Center at Marshall. The Center was the brainchild of Mathematics Professor Dr. Michael Schroeder and Political Science Professor Dr. Damien Arthur following a research project that Schroeder and a group of his students conducted for the Huntington Police Department in 2016. That project analyzed ways the Police Department could optimize patrol routes.

The CORTEX Center also coordinated a research project with the Public Works Department this past spring that evaluated the Department’s household garbage routes and looked for potential efficiencies.

“The focus of the CORTEX Center is to create inter-disciplinary task forces consisting of faculty members and students that can help overcome challenges faced by Marshall’s community partners,” Schroeder said. Our students gain valuable, real-world experience in the process and our faculty members are able to make significant contributions in the community in which they live, work and play.”

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