Subscription an option to keep curbside recycling in Oregon

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Is there hope for keeping curbside recycling in Oregon?
        Oregon Councilwoman Sandy Bihn seems to think so.
        At a council meeting on Monday, Bihn said there are some discussions going on in the city that curbside recycling may be an option if residents are willing to pay for it.
        Council recently voted for a five-year contract with Republic Services of Toledo for refuse and yard waste collection and disposal. It did not include curbside recycling due to increased costs. Currently, the city has a refuse and recycling contract with Waste Management, the only other company to provide a bid.
        The contract becomes effective on Dec. 1.
        Oregon is just one of many communities across the country who face 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.  The global market has not changed or improved, and the cost to process the recycling continues to rise. China, which disposes of most recyclables in this country, continues to limit its recycling import product to a 0.5 percent contamination limit. This limit massively affects the global market for recycling and increases the processing costs.
        Bihn, executive director of Lake Erie Waterkeeper, has raised concerns about the discontinuation of curbside recycling in Oregon. She has been researching ways in which it could remain in the city.
        She forwarded information she found about a company called Recyclops, which provides a subscription service for curbside recycling, to Public Service Director Paul Roman.
        Roman said the city provided the company with information upon their request.
        He said Recyclops does not have any business in Ohio.
        “We did provide them with some information, such as the length of our roads, to explain the makeup of our city.”
        It would cost $11 per month per resident, after adding minimal cost for bags, said Roman.
        “You have to use their bags and pay for them. When you sign up, you are signing up for a year at a time,” said Roman. “I think they want to see what demands there would be for subscription. We said we would support that. I’d like to see what demand there is for subscription. I think that the conditions are very similar to what Republic and Waste Management provided. They can refuse at the curb if they see contaminated material. It can still be refused at the processing center and go to a landfill. But the idea of a subscription service is that people are paying separate money for it. They may have a much cleaner product. These are people who really are into it. They want to make sure it’s done right. This company feels there would be less of a contamination issue with subscription.”
        Roman said he will send information to council as he receives it from Recyclops.
        “The first question is, `What’s the demand for subscriptions?’ Perhaps those costs would go down if there was higher demand. I just don’t know, honestly, if it would be competitive with city wide curbside pickup. There would certainly be a need for bigger trucks, just like Waste Management and Republic, and more manpower. But I think subscription could work. So it would be nice to see what they do provide.”
        “I thought the conversation sounded promising. Their point is they are in the recycling business to recycle. They certainly were very honest about the market and how it costs more to recycle today. They use outside contractors and they have a unique system. I’m hopeful that something may be able to be worked out. Some people may wish to subscribe and we may offer an alternative to taking it down to the drop offs.”
        Recyclops officials told her that there tends to be less contamination when recycling is put into bags instead of containers.
        “When you put it into a bag, there’s actually a decrease in contamination. They find a fairly low contamination rate in the way they administer their business,” said Bihn.
        “It might be interesting if we could build a recycling program here and figure out some terms that make it more attractive for the community. Then in a future contract it five years, if we have less that we’re having to landfill, that could be an offset to some of the collection for the refuse that we have. Certainly in this day and age, reuse of our materials, because we’re just a throwaway society, is desirable by all of us. Convenience does make it easier rather than taking it away. So we’ll see where this leads to. I think it’s hopeful,” said Bihn.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association