Curbside Recycling Seen As Possible By 1994

April 28, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

County-wide curbside collection of newspapers, glass, aluminum cans and yard waste could be in full swing by 1994 under two recycling plans County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann is considering.

Outlines ofthe two plans were presented to a group of about 50 people, including private trash haulers, County Council members and members of citizens' groups Thursday night.

Either plan would cost the county about $12 for every ton of trash recycled -- or a total estimated to be between $1.6 million and $1.9 million a year. Last year, county residents and commercial businesses generated 157,000 tons of trash.

"We have a good private haulersystem and an existing waste-to-energy plant, so we want to use whatwe have to our advantage," said Bob Donald, deputy director of public works for environmental affairs.

"The system we favor is a hybrid that makes use of the existing facilities. Both systems have curbside collection. The difference is how we get it from the curb to the recycling center and what happens to the rest of the refuse."

Rehrmann is favoring the following plan:

* Recyclables, pre-sorted intoblue trash bags, collected on regular trash day, even in rural areas.

* Blue bags of recyclables, including yard waste, opened at waste-to-energy plant; yard waste composted.

* Regular trash bags opened at waste-to-energy plant and sorted for missed recyclables such asold bicycle tires or steel on the bottom of powdered-drink containers.

The other plan under consideration includes:

* Recyclables placed at curb on special collection day, except in rural areas.

* Residents who now pay private haulers $7 to $8 a month for trash collection would pay an additional $2 or $3 a month for the additional trash collection for recycled material.

* Recyclables taken to expanded waste-to-energy plant, sorted.

* Other trash taken to waste-to-energy plant for burning or to landfill.

"But it's difficult to do that special pick-up at apartment houses or town houses where they place trash in (large trash bins) because the blue bags wouldn't be separated from the other trash," said Donald. "And there's a high costfor the additional pick-up -- about $2.14 million a year for residents."

The trash recycling plan favored by Rehrmann also would allowbusinesses, commercial industry and apartment complexes with centralwaste collection containers to participate in recycling because bluebags of recyclables would be collected in regular trash pick-up, Donald said.

The plan Rehrmann would prefer to use calls for expansion of the waste-to-energy facility now operated by Consumat Inc. on Aberdeen Proving Ground in Edgewood.

Donald said it would cost about$10.8 million to make changes at the plant. The money could be borrowed in the bond market.

In that case, the Northeast Waste Authority could help Consumat and the county with the bond issue.

Another aspect of the county's recycling plan calls for construction of two county-owned recycling centers similar to the private, non-profit Susquehannock Environmental Center Inc., which buys recyclable materials from people who bring them to the site. The county-owned centers are needed, Donald said, to continue to encourage citizens' groups to tryto raise money by collecting materials for recycling and selling them to a recovery center.

Rehrmann has included $475,000 to build such a center in her 1991-1992 proposed budget.

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