By Scott Sullivan
Douglas City Council Monday nixed its single waste-hauler’s proposal to go “a la cart” with recycling.
Members’ chose to hold Republic Services to its current contract terms collecting yellow recycling bags every two weeks instead of the firm furnishing users 96-gallon carts for that service but picking up recyclables only monthly.
Chef Container, which renewed its 3-year single-waste hauler agreement with the city Nov. 21, 2017, announced Feb. 7, 2018, it had been purchased by Allied Waste Systems, Inc. Allied’s affiliated Republic Services thus assumed those duties.
Currently residents pick up recycle bags at city hall, then fill and then dispose of the bags in a regular trash receptacle furnished by Republic.
Concerns have surfaced in recent months about how the company handles recycled materials. Republic municipal relationship manager Kerry Rattinger last month attended a council meeting at which members and residents asked how many/much of the bagged recyclables were actually recovered in the company’s sorting process.
“I explained,” Rattinger wrote council June 17, “that contamination (mostly due to items being too big for the bags such as cardboard, or bags being broken during the compaction process) is much greater in the bag program than our other programs.
“Additionally,” he went on, “it is unsanitary, and potentially unsafe and dangerous for our employees to wade through garbage (which can include shards of glass, nails, needles, etc.) in order to pull the recycling bags from the piles of trash.
“Therefore, Republic would like to propose the following:
“• Each residence would be issued a 95-gallon recycling cart. (It would be) the same size as current trash carts but have a different-colored lid.
“• Recycling pickup would be once every 4 weeks. This has proven successful in other municipalities and limits wear and tear on the roads, as well as the carbon footprint.
“• There will be no (emphasis his) additional charge for this service.
“• Should a resident need an additional cart due to the volume of recyclable they have, carts will be available for rent for $3 a month.
“We believe that the large cart will provide sufficient capacity for the average recycler. In many cases cardboard boxes may not need to be broken down as the cart is quite large. Boxes would need to be broken down if extra space in the cart is needed.
“In either case, the cardboard would be in a cart separate from the trash, thereby vastly increasing the quantity of the cardboard, and other materials as well, that gets recycled,” the Republic spokesman’s proposal said.
Council voiced reservations about only monthly pickups and altering the existing contract. It is set to expire in November 2020.