Recycling cost and numbers up

Recycling service will continue in Warren, but it will cost the city $12,000 more than it did before.

According to Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz, the city’s current recycling contract expires this month and the city put the contract out for bid.

The only bid received was from Advanced Disposal, formerly Veolia, at a cost that exceeded the prior rate. Council unanimously approved the contract on Monday.

Holtz said the city provides an extensive list of items that can be recycled and noted that collection occurs twice a month for 3,240 units. Total cost to the city per year under the old contract was $49,000.

Dan Ristau, who works in operations with Advanced Disposal, explained that the company gathered information regarding collection volume and put together the pricing based on those numbers. He said the program has been expanded over the last year with additional expansion a possibility.

“We are seeing good participation in the city,” he said. “It seems to be growing, especially with cardboard added.

He could not cite specific reasons for the increase in cost.

When recycling is collected in Warren, it goes to the Pittsfield transfer station where it is loaded onto a larger truck for shipment to a recycling center in Buffalo.

Ristau said the program has cut about “twenty-five percent of your waste stream,” reducing the volume of trash. He explained that more people are going to the “by the bag” program for trash service because of what can be included in recycling.

Councilman Sam Harvey asked whether it would be in “the city’s best interest” to only provide recycling for the items the state has identified in the program.

City Planner David Hildebrand said the state has a four-item minimum – three kinds of glass and aluminum – and receives more recycling grant money based on total tonnage collected. “Actually, it’s advantageous to have more recycling going through the system,” he said. “The whole process reduces what is going out to the landfills” in addition to enhancing the city’s grant award, which totaled $10,000 last year.

“Recycling more items other than aluminum is probably a shell game,” said Harvey. “We should reduce the numbers we are recycling to the most profitable ones.”

Council Vice President Maurice Cashman said that enhanced recycling has reduced his trash cost. “I believe in recycling,” he added.