Stopping recycling scavengers is not high on Mayor Nutter’s list of priorities

Mayor Michael Nutter appeared before a live studio audience Tuesday night at NBC10’s studios on City Line Avenue, fielding a slew of questions from viewers via Twitter, Facebook and email.

The live “Ask The Mayor” town hall aired on NBC10’s main station from 7 to 7:30 p.m. and moved over to the cable NBC Nonstop for an additional half hour.

The questions ranged from taxes, tax abatements and job creation to former schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, quality-of-life issues like litter and people driving while talking on cell phones or texting. If you’re a Twitter user and want to see the questions sent in — though not necessarily asked — search under the #tweetnutter hashtag.

In many ways, they were the same sorts of queries he faces on a day-in day-out basis, but the social-media/live-television format was something new (and also something that has drawn the “give me equal time” ire of Karen Brown, his Republican opponent in November’s mayoral election).

From a hyperlocal sense, an emailed question via “Sue from East Falls” drew some lighthearted reactions from both Nutter and the several dozen people in the studio audience.

Sue was concerned with “scavengers going through the trash and recycling,” stealing cans and bottles meant for city pickup efforts through which municipal coffers receive $65 for every ton collected. (That number fluctuates to the point that, in the past, the city had to pay to have recycling taken away and in this fiscal year, it’s varied between $31.22 and $65.85 returned per ton).

With a quizzical expression, Nutter shrugged and paused to formulate a response.

“It’s what people do!” he said. “I certainly want people to recycle, but with all that’s going on in the city, I’m not going to be sending people after those who collect aluminum cans. I’d rather they do that than go out beating on people.”

If you see this Sue from East Falls, by all means, email us a response. We’ll pass it along to the mayor.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.