Lawrence residents, you have about 18 months to come up with an extra $2.81 per month.
Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are set to formally approve a new citywide curbside recycling program that would begin in late 2014 and add about $3 per month to every residential trash bill in the city.
“We think it is going to be a great program,” said Chuck Soules, the director of the city’s public works department, which will be responsible for running the program.
After more than a year of discussion, commissioners are set to approve an ordinance that provides a host of new details about the proposed service.
Here’s a look:
• Price: The city has settled on an initial fee of $2.81 per month for the curbside recycling service. As expected, every residential and multi-family resident who currently receives a city trash bill will be required to pay the fee. People won’t be required to actually recycle, but every resident will be required to pay the monthly fee, which will be added onto the city’s standard trash bill.
• Timing: The city will be ready to begin the service Oct. 15, 2014. That’s also when the $2.81-per-month rate increase will take effect.
• Frequency: Curbside collection will happen once every two weeks. The city will create a schedule showing what days each area of town is served. Soules said the new service likely will cause the trash day for many residents across the city to be changed. Households will have their recycling and trash picked up on the same days.
• Carts: The standard cart size delivered to households will be a 95-gallon cart. The standard-size trash cart delivered to residents recently is 65 gallons. Residents can request a smaller recycling cart, and since residents won’t be required to recycle, they can simply refuse to receive a cart from the city. But those residents still will pay the $2.81-per-month fee.
• Accepted materials. All recycling will be single stream, which means residents can throw all their recycling into a single container. Here’s what will be accepted:
— Glass bottles and jars
— Mixed paper such as magazines, junk mail, chipboard, telephone books and other similar materials
— Office and printer paper
— Shredded paper, as long as it is bagged in a clear, plastic bag
— Cardboard containers, such as unwaxed cardboard boxes
— Tin, steel, aluminum and bimetal food and beverage containers
— Scrap metal that is less than 30 inches in each direction and less than 50 pounds in weight
— Plastic containers marked with recycling symbols No. 1 through No. 7
• Dumpsters: Residents who live in an area where their trash service is by a Dumpster won’t be getting a cart. Instead, the city will place a recycling Dumpster next to or near the existing trash Dumpster.
• Crews: City crews — the same department that picks up the city’s trash — will pick up the recycling. At the moment, though, it will take two separate crews to do the collection. The city does not have trucks that can haul the recycling and the trash at the same time.
• Recycling facility: The city on Tuesday will sign a seven-year contract — with two three-year renewal options — with Hamm Quarry to operate a new recycling collection facility just outside the Lawrence city limits. The multimillion-dollar facility will be built at the junction of Kansas Highway 32 and U.S. Highway 24/40, which is just east of the Lawrence Municipal Airport. Hamm is the Perry-based company that runs the landfill where Lawrence takes its trash.
• Fines: The ordinance does establish a $5 fine anytime a resident sets out a recycling cart that contains materials that are trash instead of recycling. The city ordinance specifically states residents aren’t to use the recycling carts for other purposes, such as storing yard waste.
Soules said the city will need to buy about three to four new solid waste trucks to operate the recycling program, and the city likely will need to hire about five new employees to make the system work. Those costs are designed to be covered by the new monthly fee.
State law prohibits the city from starting the recycling program before October 2014, in order to give private recycling companies in the city a chance to adjust.
Soules said the city has plenty of work to do in the meantime, such as figuring out new routes for the city.
“There’s still a lot of planning that has to go into all of this, but we’re excited about the possibilities,” Soules said.