Northwood eyes subscription service for recycling program

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Waste Management, which has a contract with Northwood to collect refuse and recycling, has continued curbside recycling, but changes are coming.
        “We’ve had free pickup of recyclables for years,” said City Administrator Bob Anderson. “Sale of recyclables are not making money anymore for companies like Waste Management. In fact, Waste Management tells us they are losing money.”
        Northwood is just one of many communities across the country that is facing rising costs of curbside recycling. Much of the items placed in recycling bins are being rejected at the recycling center or are being shipped overseas and put in landfills. China, which disposes most recyclables in the U.S., continues to limit its recycling imports, which affects the global market for recycling and increases the processing costs.
        Waste Management has recommended that the city start a subscription service to continue the recycling program.
        “It is proposing that we start a subscription service in Northwood. They are no longer going to pick it up for free,” said Anderson.
        “Waste Management is willing to do the subscription service, unless the city picks up all the charges for recycling and keeps it the way it was. But I got relatively negative feedback from city council that we’re not going to pay for recycling,” he said.
        The city is continuing to discuss its options with Waste Management, he added.
        “Until the time we get this straightened out, they will continue to pick up recyclables twice per month.”
        Anderson suggested a subscription fee of $10 per month.
        “It would depend on the number of subscriptions they would get. I’m not sure how many people would sign up for it. If people are really into recycling, some may want to just take their recyclables to the nearest drop off location, which for us is in Oregon,” he said. “But that’s where we’re at for now. City council will be discussing this further at its next meeting.”
        The city rolled out an automated refuse collection system about two months ago with Waste Management that requires residents to use 96-gallon carts instead of setting out bags of garbage at the curb. All waste must be bagged within the Waste Management cart and placed at the street for pickup. No additional waste outside the cart, including extra bags or personal trash cans, will be picked up.
        “Garbage bags made for a messy situation sometimes because dogs and raccoons could get into them and scatter litter all over the sidewalk and lawns. We’re just changing the method of pickup. You can’t set out 14 bags of garbage at the curb anymore. Waste Management stopped picking up bags in April. Many communities, like Toledo and Oregon, have had the automated system. So we’re just moving up to the 21st century,” said Anderson.


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