By October, residents will be setting out their recyclables every other week in new 64 gallon, rolling containers.
Currently, residents use 18-gallon containers for weekly pick-up.
Council on Monday voted unanimously for the changes, which are part of a new five-year contract with Waste Management.
The new 64 gallon containers will have a closing lid and be on wheels, making it easier for residents to haul their recyclables to the curb.
Each container will be embedded with a radio frequency chip for identification to help the city chart recycling activities in different neighborhoods and provide protection against theft, said Administrator Ken Filipiak after the meeting.
“We’ll be able to tell how much recycling is being done. That’s useful information because then we’ll have an idea of what areas of the city are doing better with recycling than others. It can also help us provide some helpful information, perhaps do some marketing in those areas to do more,” said Filipiak.
“More importantly, we’ll be able to identify each owner’s container. If it gets lost or stolen, we’ll know who the rightful owner is if it is found,” he said.
The community will also benefit by the larger containers because they are less likely to get blown away by the wind, he added.
“Often, if it’s a real windy day, the contents of that container get blown away as well as the container. Hopefully, the bigger containers will help keep the neighborhoods tidier,” he said.
Residents will also be able to add magazines and junk mail to the current list of recycling materials that are collected, such as glass, newspapers, plastic, aluminum, and steel, said Filipiak.
The move offers cost savings to the city and encourages more recycling, he said.
“The experience of waste haulers is if you give people a larger container, they will recycle more. And I think that’s our experience, too. When someone fills their waste container, a decent percentage of people will throw out the rest of their recycling materials. Some people will get a second container, or more than two. But that’s not typical. The hope here is that when you have plenty of capacity, people will be putting more material in. As people become more conscious of their responsibilities to the environment, they tend to want to recycle more. The larger container makes it easier,” said Filipiak.
Bi-weekly collection will also save the city money.
“There won’t be as many truck trips to pick up the recycling containers. Waste Management expects to see a reduction in the overall volume of what gets landfilled. Part of what goes into the cost of our contract is how much waste they collect and how much they have to spend on landfill fees,” said Filipiak.
The contract calls for the city to pay $878,000 per year for five years to Waste Management for recycling and waste collection.
“What we’ll save over the five year life of the contract by changing the recycling option is about $481,000,” said Filipiak. The savings drops to $152,000 after the city spends $329,000 for the 64 gallon containers, which will have a 10-year life.
“In the next five years, there will be even more significant savings,” said Filipiak.
The city has requested a grant from the Lucas County Solid Waste District to offset the cost of buying the containers, he added.
Some on council, before they voted, expressed concerns about the program.
Councilman Bill Myers thought council should give the ordinance three readings to give the public time to be informed of the changes.
“It would be good for us to allow people to know it’s coming in case there are any questions or concerns they would have for the new recycling system. I talked to some of the people in my area, and it was probably 50-50. But the biggest thing was they had no idea this was going to change,” said Myers.
Mayor Marge Brown said the program won’t take effect until October.
“What if they don’t want to do it once we approve the contract?” asked Myers. “I guess I would like to make sure everyone understands.”
Councilman Mike Seferian said the time for residents to express concerns has already passed.
“I don’t think it’s an option anymore. We can hold the same dialogue, but the position of the city is that this is the way it’s going to be,” he said. “We chose to act on it tonight. If there are complaints, then I guess we’re just going to have to deal with that.”
Councilman Jerry Peach worried about whether the public would have problems with the larger containers.
“I have some reservations about the ability of people in the winter to haul out a 64 gallon container that may be fairly heavy across stones, or a snow drift,” he said, though he acknowledged the program’s overall cost savings to the city.
Brown said she and Councilman James Seaman recently informed about 65 people at the senior center about the changes.
“People were very highly enthused about (the containers). They are easier to get out to the curb,” said Brown.
“The reception at the senior center was very positive,” said Seaman. “I also feel that what we have is a savings for the environment. There’s going to be very little that goes out as garbage for someone who scrutinizes what they throw out in the new recycling container. It doesn’t have to be sorted. Our landfill will not be filled as drastically, and that is a savings some of us won’t see right away. There is a big use now for recycled plastic, aluminum and newspapers. Newspapers are even being bundled and shipped across the country and exported. It’s going to be a tremendous savings to the environment.”