Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Curbside recycling deal in the works

February 13, 2013


Lawrence city commissioners are ready to strike a deal to bring a citywide curbside recycling service to Lawrence — and a more convenient way for residents to get rid of all those empty glass bottles.

On Tuesday, commissioners unanimously agreed to begin negotiating with Perry-based Hamm Companies on a deal that would allow the company to build a multimillion-dollar recycling processing facility that would serve a new city-run curbside recycling service.

Based on proposals received from Hamm, the city expects the new program to add about $2.80 to $3 per month for every-other-week service, which will include glass as part of the curbside recycling service.

“We have such a reputation in Lawrence of being such a progressive community, but when people hear we don’t have a universal curbside recycling program, they are amazed by that,” City Commissioner Aron Cromwell said.

Lawrence residents will have to wait a bit longer for curbside service, assuming

negotiations progress with Hamm. State law requires the city to wait 18 months before starting a service in order to give private haulers in the area time to adjust.

As proposed, the citywide service would be a mandatory pay but voluntary participation program. That means all residential customers in the city would have the recycling fee added to their monthly bills, regardless of whether they choose to use the service.

The proposal also calls for city sanitation crews to pick up the curbside recycling, while Hamm Companies will handle the processing of the materials.

The city received proposals from two other companies — Kansas City’s Deffenbaugh Industries and Topeka’s Waste Management — that would have had private crews collect the recycling and process the materials.

Both companies offered proposals that potentially could have produced lower monthly rates than Hamm, but city commissioners said they liked the idea of Hamm building a new processing center on a site just outside of North Lawrence near the Douglas-Leavenworth County line.

The facility is expected to employ 15 to 20 people.

“Adding jobs in this town is a very important factor,” City Commissioner Hugh Carter said.

Deffenbaugh Industries currently operates a large curbside recycling service in the city. Deffenbaugh officials made a proposal on Tuesday to offer the city a lower rate to begin accepting not only its recycling but also its trash, which would be dumped at the company’s Kansas City, Kan. landfill.

Currently, the city uses Hamm Companies’ landfill in Jefferson County. Deffenbaugh proposed building a transfer station in Lawrence where city crews could deliver the trash and Deffenbaugh crews would transport it to the Kansas City landfill.

Deffenbaugh officials estimated the new dumping arrangement could save the city $250,000 to $500,000 per year in fuel, maintenance and tipping fees. City officials, however, said they hadn’t fully analyzed the proposal and it received little discussion from commissioners on Tuesday.

Negotiations with Hamm are expected to occur over the next several weeks. Commissioners will have to approve any final contracts.


ljreader 1 year, 2 months ago

Where do the bags of dog poop go that we pick up during walking the dogs? I'm almost afraid to ask, as it may trigger a mandated 150 gallon cart.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 2 months ago

We have no choice for water, we have no choice for an alternative fire department, or police department.

We do have a choice to recycle, but must pay when there s a choice.

What about used batteries?

Flawed recycle system implemented by a flawed commision, that does not think.


Stain 1 year, 2 months ago

Thanks and kudos to all who are responsible for choosing a LOCAL BUSINESS for our recycling program. I am sure this will work out better than sending our dollars to Kansas City and Belgium, and having to talk to someone outside the city if we have a problem.

I'm also glad they will take glass.

This was a good decision. Thanks Commissioners and everyone else involved.


Gotland 1 year, 2 months ago

I just throw my glass out the wondow of my car to recycle.


gccs14r 1 year, 2 months ago

Would all of you be complaining as loudly if it were a municipal water system being put in to replace wagon-delivered water? How about sanitary sewer to replace septic tanks?

Trash and recycling collection should be run as a utility with a single service provider to eliminate duplication of effort.


Katara 1 year, 2 months ago

Since the city is planning on buying out the local recycling companies, are they planning on proving the funding the schools lose due to the city's mandatory recycling program? Are they also planning on providing a decent severance check to the CLO folks who will be let go from the Walmart recycling center due to lack of use?

If you are going to pay people off to put through your plan, you should pay off all the people who are going to be financially hurt by your mandatory program.


Bailey Perkins 1 year, 2 months ago

I understand the incentive behind recycling and appreciate the fact you are attempting to implement an involuntarily mandatory system within the city, but not fix the problems we already experience (in the ways of trash).

On days like today, I enjoy taking hourly strolls throughout the city (why I choose to do that instead of work – since I know someone will point that out – is a matter I’m trying to fix) anyway, during today’s walk I noticed hoards of trash scattered throughout public parks, city roads, outside hotels and other businesses. Why not send city officials/volunteers to clean up the mess we already have instead of forcing everyone to pay for a service they aren’t interested in (or at least clearly do not use)?


Glo 1 year, 2 months ago

The Hamm's proposal uses city workers to pick up and haul recycleables. The other companies use their own employess, and are less expensive. Who pays the city employees? They surely won't be expected to do all that extra for no pay. Does that extra pay come from Hamms, or is it one more way the Hamms proposal will cost more.


seagull 1 year, 2 months ago

I have a 65 gallon Deffenbaugh container that I fill 2/3 full every week. So, with the proposed plan, we get a huge 95 gallon cart that we are supposed to store where? A 65 gallon container fits in a garage but is not big enough for 2 weeks' worth of recycling materials--especially if glass is included. This all sounds like a really dumb plan. Did the City bother to ask customers what they think? Sounds like an inside deal to me.


seventeen 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm still concerned about the every other week plan. As it is, I fill my Deffenbaugh container full (or more) on a weekly basis. This is without glass. How is this supposed to work every other week? We can do a better job of breaking down some boxes, but I don't see how a similar size can could be sufficient for two weeks at a time when recycling all available materials - especially for a larger family. And, like others have commented....half the service but the same or more cost to me. I guess I'm glad we can't make a change for 18 months, but the time will come.


ljreader 1 year, 2 months ago

Anymore about buying out the existing recycling businesses? What that's going to cost us? and by what means will they collect this from us? Or are they good with simply destroying the livelihoods of these families? Anyone who thinks the proposed monthly fee will stay cheap for long is just stupid. It's not government's job to save it's citizens money. Spend spend spend.


ljreader 1 year, 2 months ago

"Deffenbaugh officials estimated the new dumping arrangement could save the city $250,000 to $500,000 per year in fuel, maintenance and tipping fees". So, if we'll be saving all this money, why do we have to pay MORE???

It's like the new trash carts that are going to save us a bunch of money, except it made our bills go up.


pace 1 year, 2 months ago

I am thrilled with the choice of Hamm's. Worked with Deffenbaugh several times over decades, each time they begun with deals too good to be true, old bait and switch EVERY time. I would loath losing our city sanitation service to those goons. there isn't a home or apartment in this town who wouldn't benefit from curbside collection of recyclables. It is good long range economic activity.


tomatogrower 1 year, 2 months ago

Yeah!!! This is the plan I was hoping for.


Karl_Hungus 1 year, 2 months ago

I foresee people living in apartments getting the shaft. I doubt they will deliever 4 carts for the 4 apartments in my building yet all of those residents will be paying for it. $3 more for trash, $4.40 extra for water....THE BILL IS ALREADY TOO DAMN HIGH, knock it off. Give the city a few more years and the damn water/trash bill will cost as much as a friggin car payment!


d_prowess 1 year, 2 months ago

Thanks for making sure the proposal included glass!!


beezee 1 year, 2 months ago

So what next-- a Lawrence Carbon Tax!?!?!

We have a Commission that is more concerned with blowing [OUR] money on idiotic frills and "for show" than on simply running the City in a responsible and cost effective manner.

Lawrence has PLENTY of recycling opportunities for the many of us interested in using them. Why should we all pay MORE (a lot more in the long run) to have the City choreograph it when real NEEDS like the water and sewer fixes in the same newspaper plainly are fundamental services?!

The bunch of clowns running the Commission seem largely motivated by fluff and image (at least THEIR concept of image). So we get crap like this, a fraudulent Rec Center (more of a WRECK Center) and spurious efforts to "create" a destination for retirees. The main thing here that seems to get recycled is shopworn ideas.


mac 1 year, 2 months ago


Please include ALL plastic numbers that Diffenbaugh already collects and send out the new bins post haste. This is 15 years late, so let's get this started already.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 2 months ago

Recyclables are "valuable". And one pays to get rid of valuables?

The public is played as being dumb!


Centerville 1 year, 2 months ago

It's the Los Angeles syndrome: rather than prioritize basic infrastructure needs, it has a terminal case of mission creep - keeps getting involved in more and more trivial, expensive and low-benefit projects. Nothing says "I Care!!" like a blue dumpster on your curb.


buffalo63 1 year, 2 months ago

Right now we have the Deffenbaugh container (65 gal?) that we only fill every two weeks at most and takes up the only space we have in the garage. We already have a trash container that we only fill every two weeks (unless the grandkids visit). We purchased two yard waste containers that we can fill 2 or 3 times a week in the fall and now we are to get a 95 gal recycle container!? Might have to leave it at the curb on the storm drain flat surface as that will be the only/best storage space left!


MarcoPogo 1 year, 2 months ago

Yet another instance of the shadowy lizard people trying to get easy access to more of our personal information so they can use it against us in the coming Showdown. Break your bottles and bury them in the yard and cover them with your motor oil. Take back your individuality and privacy! (You should also get rid of Windows 8 because it is keeping tabs on you.) No New World Order...or timed traffic lights on Kentucky Street!


Tim Bateman 1 year, 2 months ago

How can the city commission not have explored a way to save $250K-$500K per year. That is a lot of money.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 2 months ago

One of the indicators that a community is in financial trouble is when they start to raise user fees. Over the past couple few years this has been happening in various forms. When the city duped the taxpayers into taking the funding from the property tax for the empT and putting it to a passing vote, moving it to a sales tax, the windfall was upwards of 4 million for the city. At the same time, Corless said he was going to give the city employees a raise but did not know where the funding was coming from. Next we see the money grab for the 10 million allocated for the clean up of the Farmland site. I would guess the city was much more interested in securing the money than the clean up of the site. I would like to know what the status is of the money secured and the money spent. We have just been forced to use polycarts by the city, which a better business decision would have been to put the trash service in town up for bids. A bid process would generate annual revenue with very little expenses. Now we have this push for recycling, which the end game is to add an additional revenue stream to the cities coffers. Next up is the costs for a new sewage treatment plant.

When someone urinates down your back and tells you its raining, maybe you should check out where the water is coming from.


jafs 1 year, 2 months ago

We recycle a lot, and I'd be glad to pay $3/month for the convenience of curbside pickup.

I do wonder about a few things though - 15-20 jobs at the new facility doesn't take into account jobs lost if folks stop using private services, or even Wal-Mart's drop off center.

What's the environmental cost of building a new processing center?

And, given the terribly low gas mileage of city trash trucks, how much will that cut into the environmental benefits of recycling?

I would very much like to see a comprehensive analysis of these things, and a conclusion as to the net environmental gain of curbside recycling, if there is one.


rlsd 1 year, 2 months ago

AND the government once again decides for us what we need and forces us to pay for it. What is that called.......


skinny 1 year, 2 months ago

I will be the first to file a class action lawsuit!! This is a free country and I do have choices!! I will not pay for something I will not use!


alfie 1 year, 2 months ago

Are we going to have a choice how big of can we will need for different households?


Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

“We have such a reputation in Lawrence of being such a progressive community, but when people hear we don’t have a universal curbside recycling program, they are amazed by that,” City Commissioner Aron Cromwell said."

Yep among other things.

Chad are we going to be allowed to opt out and keep our local private choices?


irvan moore 1 year, 2 months ago

how many jobs will be lost at other recycling businesses to gain the 15 to 20 new jobs


Mike Edson 1 year, 2 months ago

They should provide an opt out for those who do not want to participate.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 2 months ago

Voluntary but mandatory fee!

Another example of leadership at it's worst brought to you by a commission that cannot attract industry, and better yet business folks on the commission that do not have the guts to run parking as a viable revenue producing public asset.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 2 months ago

Another plan to put local business people out of business...those who pay taxes, and put it in the hands of the bureaucrats who only take tax money from the system...and we wonder why we don't have any money.


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