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|4/27/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
|Clinton officials push for single-stream recycling at landfill|
By Jeremy Huss
The city of Clinton is asking the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency (CCASWA) to consider a switch to single-stream recycling due to concerns about the cost of the city's recycling program.
Acting city administrator Jessica Kinser said at the April 11 CCASWA meeting, city officials were surprised to learn from a recent survey the city must raise its recycling fees to $5 per household due to the costs of the current multi-sort system for recyclables.
"We want the agency to look at single-stream," Kinser said.
Rather than city staff sorting out plastic, glass, metal and paper items before they are taken to the recycling center, single-stream recycling would allow residents to deposit all their recycling in a single container.
Sorting would take place later at the recycling center.
Kinser said a single-sort system would allow the city to use its fleet of automated collection trucks to collect recycling, and it would lower Clinton's recycling costs and encourage residents to recycle more.
CCASWA director Brad Seward noted CCASWA looked into the idea in 2009 and 2010 at the urging of the former Clinton public works director.
At that time, he estimated it would cost $750,000-$1 million to purchase new equipment for a an elevated sort line to facilitate hand-sorting of recycled items in a dual-sort system for fiber and non-fiber materials.
A survey was distributed to the smaller communities in Clinton County for their input in 2010. Two supported the proposal, while four were against and another was supportive if the cost could be justified, Seward said.
Seward said research he has conducted since that time has convinced him sorting machines are a better option than hand-sorting, based on safety.
Machines would reduce the chance of an employee suffering an injury such as a cut from broken glass, he said.
Seward said it will cost between $4 million and $7 million to purchase sorting machines and upgrade the recycling center for a single-stream system.
Seward said a third option would be to consider partnering with another member of the Bi-State Regional Commission, such as Scott County, for single-stream recycling.
Seward said Scott County officials are considering a change to single-stream recycling that could be implemented in 18-24 months. If that happens, it will be in their best interest to seek additional materials from outside sources.
CCASWA could avoid the cost of equipment and building changes if it was able to send unsorted recyclables to Scott County, he said.
"We would go from a sort and bale facility to a transfer facility for recycles," Seward stated.
Clinton representative Jennifer Graf said the city is the biggest financial contributor to CCASWA, and it needs something done to reduce its recycling cost.
Charlotte representative Lori Jahn raised the idea of using a hand-sort system with help from outside labor through service agencies that assist individuals with disabilities.
The recycling center used labor from the Skyline Center when it originally opened in the 1990s, Jahn noted.
CCASWA could be set up as an "enclave site" that would be open to all of the service agencies that operate in the county so the program would not benefit a single company, she said.
Using handicapped labor lowers the cost to CCASWA and helps provide jobs and pride to an underserved population, Jahn noted.
Job coaches who work for the service agencies would be on-site to train and assist their employees.
Board chairman Dave Richards asked what would happen to existing employees. Jahn said there would be no layoffs of existing staff; CCASWA just would hire in additional labor to handle the increased workload related to a single-stream recycling system.
Kenny Mosier of Grand Mound asked how the smaller towns outside Clinton handle their recycled items.
"They bring it in sorted because that's how we accept it," Seward responded.
A motion by Graf to table the issue for further discussion in May was approved, with representatives from Clinton, Clinton County, Andover, Charlotte, Delmar, Goose Lake and Wheatland voting in favor.
Representatives from DeWitt, Camanche, Grand Mound and Low Moor voted against.
Attorney to review
The board voted to send a proposed change in the employee grievance policy to the CCASWA attorney for review before any action is taken.
Current policy states grievances go first to the immediate supervisor and appeals go to the CCASWA director and then to the board of directors.
The proposed revision would eliminate the board of directors as the final appeal board and replace it with the personnel committee.
Graf said she was concerned about changing the policy mid-stream in relation to a grievance that already has been filed, and she requested the legal review, saying she was concerned about the potential liability of the three-person personnel committee.
A motion to seek legal review was approved unanimously.
Glass recycling update
Seward reported a local business has shown an interest in potentially supplying Gaylord boxes for glass shipping. Labor costs and shipment amounts are being considered. CCASWA currently estimates its annual glass intake at less than 100 tons per year.
More information will be available at the May meeting, he said.
CCASWA currently is landfilling the glass received at the recycling center because it has no buyers of recycled glass.
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