Oregon reviewing options for recycling program

By: 
Kelly J. Kaczala

        With the cost of recycling expected to go up, Oregon is discussing its options as to whether it’s worth the effort.
        Last year, Oregon, like other communities across the country, learned that China will no longer be accepting recycling materials from the U.S. due to contamination. Oregon has been reviewing its options.
       The city has just a few months left of a five year contract with Waste Management to provide unlimited garbage pickup. There is a separate cost for the recycling program.
      “Our current contract will end in October,” said Public Service Director Paul Roman. “The cost of recycling has gone up. There are facilities that are actually shutting down. It makes it more difficult for the waste haulers to recycle. So it is a question of, `Do we keep recycling, or do we not?’ We’ve been talking to Waste Management, looking at possibly renewing our contract and looking at different ways to recycle or not. We’re going to get different costs and alternatives. That’s what we’re trying to decide – whether to keep it or not.”
      While Waste Management has told the city that costs to continue to recycle would go up significantly, Roman wants to go over the numbers.
      “I want to see what those costs are. I don’t know. We’re waiting for that to come back to us,” he said.
      The city is also looking at the possibility of going to a cart system for garbage pickup.
      “We have unlimited waste refuse collection, and that is something waste haulers no longer want to provide. So we may be looking at the cart system where we provide residents with large receptacles, like Toledo. We would certainly provide those carts to our residents. If they wanted more than one, it would be something they would have to pay extra for. Each cart is equal to three garbage cans. We want to know if refuse collection will be separate pickups throughout the year, and if there is any way we could get discounts on the larger receptacles. So we’re talking all of that with waste management. They are actually supposed to come back with alternatives in June. And we’ll probably have committee meetings throughout the summer to talk about it. So we’re deciding to either renew with these different alternatives or do we go out to bid. That’s something we need to decide in the summer.”
     
No recycling
      It is a real possibility, he added, that the recycling program would no longer be provided in the city.
      Residents often throw garbage into the recycling bins and contaminate the material. When it is sorted, much of the material ends up getting thrown into the landfill.
      “If it gets that bad, it’s very likely to get turned away at a recycling facility. So it ends up going into a landfill. So we’re paying a premium for recycling when in fact it’s going into a landfill. Why would you pay extra for that. That’s the debate. Waste Management says they are taking it to a recycling facility. But that cost that is definitely going up. There is a facility in Detroit that it was taken to, but that just recently closed. Even though we knew the costs are going up, I think it’s going to go up even higher. No matter what, we’re going to look at the cost if we’re keeping it, and we’re going to look at the cost if we stop. We definitely want to share it with the public and have them weight in on it.”
     
 

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