Archive for Saturday, December 10, 2011

Owner of recycling business wants green light from city

Armond Enclard tosses a bag of trash into a bin at the the Connection, 31st and Ousdahl, on one of his nightly recycling runs. Enclard operates a recycling business where he goes door to door in complexes like the Connection to pick up people's recyclables.

Armond Enclard tosses a bag of trash into a bin at the the Connection, 31st and Ousdahl, on one of his nightly recycling runs. Enclard operates a recycling business where he goes door to door in complexes like the Connection to pick up people's recyclables.

December 10, 2011

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Armond Enclard sure thought the environment in Lawrence was right for his recycling company — Doorstep Recycling and Waste Service — to grow.

After all, city leaders have been spending a lot of time and effort studying ways to boost recycling in Lawrence.

Enclard, on the other hand, has spent a lot of time actually picking up recycling. Five days a week, he goes to every unit in The Connection apartment complex at 31st and Ousdahl in south Lawrence. He picks up both trash and recycling that residents have left outside their doors. He then deposits the trash in one of the apartment complex’s Dumpsters — which are serviced by the city — and the recycling in a bin serviced by Deffenbaugh Industries. Enclard said recycling at the complex has increased by more than 30 percent since he began the service in March.

Enclard said he could have the same type of success at several other apartment complexes if the city would make what he believes is a slight adjustment to how it bills apartment complexes for their trash service.

But instead, Enclard said, he’s learned that at City Hall green doesn’t always mean go.

“I’m pretty frustrated at the city,” Enclard said. “They talk a lot about wanting small businesses to prosper and want to be creative in helping people recycle, but they don’t seem willing to find creative ways to make things work.”

City officials disagree with that assessment, but more on that in a moment.

The issue

First you need to understand a little about trash and apartment complexes in Lawrence. Almost all apartment complexes rely on Dumpsters that are picked up by the city. But not all Dumpsters in the city are created equal.

Some apartment complexes pay a monthly per-Dumpster fee to the city. Apartments with this type of arrangement generally are the type where water and trash are included in the monthly rent paid to the landlord. The city simply sends one water/trash bill to the owner of the complex.

But many apartment complexes have individual water meters for each apartment. That means the tenants of each apartment receive the water and trash bill. The apartment complexes are still served by Dumpsters, but the city simply sets out enough Dumpsters to take care of the demand. Apartment complex owners pay nothing for trash under that arrangement, but each tenant pays the city the standard residential trash rate of $14.94 per month.

Enclard wants the city to add a third option. He wants an option where water bills would continue to be sent to the tenants of apartments, but a single trash bill would be sent to the owner of the complex.

Enclard said he has six to seven apartment complexes that have expressed an interest in his service if that billing change could be made. Enclard said the change is important because it makes his service financially feasible for apartment complexes.

Currently, Enclard charges the owner of an apartment complex $7 per month, per unit to provide the five-day-a-week service. Apartment owners, he said, are hesitant to add an extra $7 per month onto the rental rates they charge tenants if the tenants are also paying the city $15 per month for trash service.

But if the apartment complex is able to pay for trash based on how many Dumpsters it uses, the financial equation changes, Enclard said. If Enclard does his job well and gets apartment residents to recycle, the number of Dumpsters needed at an apartment complex drops significantly.

At The Connection, the number of Dumpsters has gone from 12 that were emptied twice per week to nine that are emptied once per week. Enclard said that has saved the complex — which is billed by the Dumpster because it has a single water meter — about $2,000 per month.

Enclard contends that if all apartment complexes had that option, similar savings could be had. The end result, he believes, is that apartment owners and tenants would be able to receive trash and recycling services for about the same amount they currently pay just for trash.

“I feel like I have found a way, using the city’s own system, to provide better service and increase recycling, but the city keeps saying no,” Enclard said.

Bad timing

But that’s not how the city views it. Instead, several city leaders indicated that Enclard’s third option would open up a can of worms.

Public Works Director Chuck Soules, who oversees the city’s sanitation division, said Enclard simply is providing an additional service beyond what the city provides. That’s no different from what Deffenbaugh or other private companies do that offer curbside recycling to single-family residences.

“If this idea works to increase recycling, that is great,” Soules said. “But it is an enhancement to a service, and people don’t get a break on their city bill if they subscribe to Deffenbaugh’s recycling service.”

Enclard, though, said that’s not a good analogy because the city already has a system in place that allows some apartment complexes to pay by the Dumpster. He just wants apartment complexes to have the ability to change over to that system without having to change over all of their water meters. But Soules said there is a good reason why water and trash bills should be hooked together: If a tenant doesn’t fully pay the water/trash bill, the city has the ability — after proper notice is given — to shut off the tenant’s water. That usually gets the billing matter resolved.

Enclard, however, isn’t buying it. He believes the city doesn’t want to make the change because the current multi-family trash system is financially lucrative for the city.

“I think apartment tenants definitely are getting a raw deal when it comes to trash in this town,” Enclard said.

Enclard said the city’s costs to pick up trash at an apartment complex — where it already has been consolidated into a few Dumpsters — has to be significantly less than it costs the city to go to every driveway in a residential neighborhood and pick up trash cans. Yet both single-family and multi-family residents pay the same $14.94 per month.

“They don’t want to do any of this because they don’t want to lose the revenue,” Enclard said. “And if they allow me to do my business, they will lose revenue. They would. But they shouldn’t be generating revenue like they are right now. They’re taking advantage of citizens.”

City officials dispute that claim. But Mayor Aron Cromwell said he understands some of Enclard’s points, though he said the time for Enclard’s idea is not ideal.

That’s because the city’s Solid Waste Task Force is considering recommendations that would change many aspects of the city’s trash and recycling services. Cromwell said he doesn’t want to make ordinance changes to accommodate Enclard’s business only to change the entire system again in a few months.

“I agree that it is time for us to come up with some ways to change what we’re doing when it comes to trash,” Cromwell said. “But we’re in the middle of that right now.

“I appreciate that he is out there trying to make something work, but we’re trying to make something work not for one or two apartment complexes or even 10 or 15. We’re trying to make something work for the entire city, and we’re getting closer to that.”

City reporter Chad Lawhorn can be reached at 832-6362. Follow him at Twitter.com/clawhorn_ljw.

Comments

ToriFreak13 3 years, 4 months ago

Good luck getting the city of Lawrence to give up their racket. Especially when they are about to expand it without a vote (business as usual). You would be better off negotiating your fee with the owners to then offset their cost by adding it to the rent. It would just be another luxury they could brag about in their marketing to get residents.

mtburton88 3 years, 4 months ago

Hey Tracy...didn't you just say something negative about this service in a comment further down. I don't think you have to pay anything! The Connection absorbs that cost. You should ask your apartment complex about it...from my understanding in speaking with Mr. Enclard in the past, he comes by your apartment Mon - Friday at 10pm...so your trash and recycling can simply be placed outside your door.

moxibustion 3 years, 4 months ago

It's appalling that recycling services are not more readily available. Having a more extensive recycling service available to residents of Lawrence has so many benefits. Coming from a west coast state where recycling was mandatory, I've seen how vital it is to reducing trash in landfills and I imagine it will create jobs.

What's the problem in having city-wide recycling more available? Really?

mtburton88 3 years, 4 months ago

True KRichards...but the article says his service is DAILY for $7/mo...Deffenbaugh does not service apartment complexes for $10/mo. It's a convenience as well. We would all recycle more if we could just set recycling outside of our front door and forget about it.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

City-wide recycling services ARE readily available in Lawrence. Have you simply not bothered looking? We pay a monthly fee for a weekly recycling service from Jeff's Recycling that takes EVERYTHING but styrofoam and garbage. (Deffenbaugh doesn't take all the standard recycleables so, while they're a few dollars cheaper, they aren't worth it to us.)

parrothead8 3 years, 4 months ago

What are all these "standard recyclables" Deffenbaugh doesn't take? We use them, and the only thing they don't seem to take is glass. Have they told you something else?

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

Glass is what I was referring to. And, since much of our recyclables are glass, that's really important to us.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

Well...according to Deffenbaugh themselves, in addition to no glass whatsoever...and this is a direct quote from their website:

Other unacceptable materials include: • Automotive Product Bottles • Blueprints • Carbon Paper • Construction Paper • Drink Pouches • Egg Cartons • Film Canisters • Foil • Frozen Food Containers • Frozen Juice Containers or Straws • Gift Wrap • Hanging Folders • Hardback Books • Microwave Trays • Motor Oil Bottles • Paper Plates or Cups • Paper Towels • Paperback Books • Photographs • Pizza Boxes • Plastic Bags • Plastic Cereal Box or Cake Box Liner Bags • Plastic Lids or 6-Pack Holders • Scrap Metal • Shredded Paper • Tissue Paper • Trash • Vitamin or Prescription Bottles • Wax Cardboard

Good grief!!! Plastic bags aren't "standard recyclables"?? Aluminum foil??? Shredded paper?? Plastic cereal box liners? That's absurd!!!

From that entire list, the only thing that we've not recycled via Jeff's Recycling are blueprints (not a part of our life :-). And the one thing we haven't gotten picked up is a Pringle's cannister...and all we needed to do for that was to separate the metal top and bottom from the cardboard packing. (Oh gee, darn :-)

I think we'll continue to pay a few dollars more a month for our far-more-inclusive recycling service.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 4 months ago

It was some time ago, so I'm not sure if it's still accurate, but I was told that in order to recycle food cans with Deffenbach, the labels needed to be removed and the cans needed to be washed. The water usage bothered me, not knowing if it was worse in terms of carbon footprint, etc., using water (heating it) vs. just throwing the can away.

mtburton88 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree! In the past the city allowed privately owned business to handle recycling in the city, which is why it is not provided by the city. I think Mr. Encarld has a great business model and is picking up the slack where the city has dropped the ball.

tomatogrower 3 years, 4 months ago

I thought this guy was taking the trash to the recycling center. He is just taking it down to the bins? Why can't he continue doing this after the city changes things? And really? Unless I was disabled why wouldn't I take them to the bins myself? Are people really paying him for this?

Getaroom 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, perhaps YOU would make the effort to walk those recyclables to the bin for items that Deffenbaugh does not accept (read the lid) there are more than a few by the way, but have you noticed how lazy some OTHER people are? Obviously there is a demand, otherwise Ron Paul's beloved "Free Market" would take of the issue and be done with it, that is the magical part of it.

Besides, it is the complex renters "GOD" given right to pay for his service and to keep Government out of the trash business - right? Now there is some tongue-in-cheek trash talk for you tgrower.

tomatogrower 3 years, 4 months ago

I don't mind if someone wants to pay for this service. I just don't understand how the city's possible plans would affect his business.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 4 months ago

"City-wide recycling services ARE readily available in Lawrence. Have you simply not bothered looking? We pay a monthly fee for a weekly recycling service from Jeff's Recycling that takes everything but styrofoam and garbage. (Deffenbaugh doesn't take all the standard recycleables so, while they're a few dollars cheaper, they aren't worth it to us.)"

Yep...

We use Sunflower. Both Jeff's and Sunflower have been around for awhile.

parrothead8 3 years, 4 months ago

"But Soules said there is a good reason why water and trash bills should be hooked together: If a tenant doesn’t fully pay the water/trash bill, the city has the ability — after proper notice is given — to shut off the tenant’s water. That usually gets the billing matter resolved."

How would that change if the water and trash bills were sent separately? If someone doesn't pay their water bill, you shut off their water. If someone doesn't pay their trash bill, you stop collecting their trash.

Can I resolve a problem with my water by calling the city's Solid Waste Division? Perhaps I can contact the Water Distribution Divison regarding questions I have about my trash service? It makes no sense to shut off someone's water because they can't pay their trash bill.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

This article is talking about apartment complexes. How do you stop the City from picking up the trash at an apartment complex because one tenant doesn't pay their trash bill???

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

Of course it applies. But we are talking about apartment complexes, so...

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

"We" as in the article itself and the responses to the article itself up until the point that you posted at 11:45 AM and I replied at 12:30 PM.

Yeah...I'm posting this hours and hours later because our granddaughter graduated from KU today so "we"...her family, that is...were out celebrating :-) But, heck...I had this overwhelming urge to be just as silly as you were with your "mouse" comment. Do you mind?

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

I have zero sympathy for this "recycling" business owner.

It's the LANDLORD'S choice to install separate water meters in their units. The LANDLORD'S choice to have each tenant pay the water bill separately. And it's the LANDLORD's choice to pay for ADD-ON services for their tenants. (Disclosure: I'm a Lawrence landlord )

Blaming the City for the business decisions of the apartment complex owners doesn't seem particularly bright to me. And blaming the City because they didn't jump on adding a third level of billing because this one "recycling" guy wants them to so that he can maybe expand his business???

Just because someone expressed an interest in his services doesn't mean that a complex will actually decide to start paying for trash pickup themselves AND pay for this guy's services themselves AND raise the rent to cover those additional costs...when they could not change anything and still make just as much money for zero effort? They're certainly not telling him they're willing to change their entire utility management, rewrite their leases, and raise rents 'if only' our mean old City gummint added a third billing option.

He also needs to change his marketing and promotional approaches drastically (if not his entire business model) to convince these complexes how it's a good service to offer even if nothing changes about trash billing.

After all, his real problem is not the City's billing system. It's that the service he offers is...literally...to simply to take your trash and recyclables from outside your apartment door, then toss them into the dumpsters and Deffenbaugh recycle bins already provided at the complex. That's a janitorial service, not a recycling service...and certainly doesn't call for the City to change its billing system.

He brags about how his service has reduced the number of dumpsters and pickups at the complex. Indeed, that seems to be his selling point to complexes. But I'll bet the presence of a Deffenbaugh bin had a lot to do with reducing the trash tossed, not just this guy's service, so it's not logical for him to take all the credit for the changes.

Recycling actually occurs INSIDE the apartments. People have to first be willing to separate their recyclables from trash. Was it this guy's service that started them doing it? Or was it the presence of a Deffenbaugh bin and/or the increasing social consciousness of many of today's students? That his service merely has been providing more convenient pickup...not more actual recycling? Who knows?

Frankly, as more complexes have recycling bins, thus reducing trash (a cost reduction that owners will take notice of) this guy's going to have a harder and harder time convincing complexes of the benefits of his services...except as a luxury add-on. So he shouldn't blame the City for interfering with his business model. He should understand what his business model really is...and make appropriate adjustments.

mtburton88 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, he would leave with an empty flat bed because the trash & recycling is actually IN the trash or recycling bin an not all over the property as it likely used to be prior to his services! But i'm sure you utilize his services, don't you? Who wouldn't want to just place their trash outside of their door, and have someone pick it up, instead of walking from the 3rd floor to the dumpster. If you don't use it now, I guarantee you will when its 3-below outside.

mtburton88 3 years, 4 months ago

You sound pretty hostile and very opinionated, Kendall...have you had prior experience with this guy? Because I actually I have had first hand experience with this guy (I am a landlord as well!) and what you are describing, is in fact, far from the way he runs his business. He goes to apartment complexes that do not already use recycling services (therefore no recycling bins are already present), implements recycling by educating the staff as well as the tenants on a quarterly basis (so yes his service has gotten tenants to begin recycling), he sets up their recycling bins through Deffenbaugh, and as an ADDED amenity, he services the complex by offering the tenants door-to-door trash & recycling pick-up. In the city we do have other recycling dump sites, but the door to door pick up makes it CONVENIENT to recycle which is what many tenants love. It's actually a very great business model and a very popular amenity for apartment complexes in almost every major city in the U.S. So I give Mr. Enclard a bravo for finding ways for the residents of Lawrence that live in apartments to recycle. And at the same time his prices are very reasonable...Deffenbaugh charges $8/mo to pick up residential recycling once per week....according to the article Mr. Enclard is only charging $7/mo, with the added benefit of picking up trash/recycling 5 days/week. I guarantee other valet recycling services charge 3 - 4 times that amount! So Kendall, what exactly is your property doing to recycle?

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

I can most certainly be opinionated!!! No one...including me...will ever argue against that one :-)

But I do try very hard not to be squirrely. To not confuse apples and oranges.

I mean, when you wrote "And at the same time his prices are very reasonable...Deffenbaugh charges $8/mo to pick up residential recycling once per week"...it seemed pretty obvious (to me, at least) that you weren't talking about Deffenbaugh's apartment complex bin pricing. Rather, you were talking about their private home fees and schedules...which has nothing to do with the article. (Or my comments.)

And, after questioning if I had "prior experience with this guy? Because I actually I have had first hand experience with this guy"...you then go on to say "according to the article Mr. Enclard is only charging $7/mo, with the added benefit of picking up trash/recycling 5 days/week".

Well...which is it? Do you have first hand experience with the services this guy provides? Or not? Do you know what his fees are compared to Deffenbaugh's apartment complex fees (as opposed to the residential fees you cited)? Or not? Perhaps you're simply telling us about a sales pitch you got from the guy? Because you sure didn't tell us that you actually use his services for your tenants.

I admit that what I really found bizarre was your writing that he "goes to apartment complexes that do not already use recycling services...implements recycling by educating the staff as well as the tenants on a quarterly basis...sets up their recycling bins through Deffenbaugh, and as an ADDED amenity, he services the complex by offering the tenants door-to-door trash & recycling pick-up".

His "ADDED amenity"??? Do you seriously think this guy's business model is primarily based on educating folks about recycling and arranging for Deffenbaugh recycle bins? That his pickup service is simply an "added amenity"? Come on. Be serious.

I agree that door-to-door trash/recycle pickup in an apartment complex is certainly a nice "valet" service. But my point was that it's an "added amenity" that a landlord gets to choose to offer. It is not something the City has to accomodate because one guy is having trouble with his existing business model. And, yes...that's exactly why this guy wants the City to change its billing system.

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