The city’s proposed curbside recycling program is creating a murky future for the seven private companies that offer curbside recycling services currently.
The proposed city ordinance technically will allow those companies to keep operating, if they get a license from the city. But if residents want to use those private companies, they’ll have to pay the company its monthly fee, plus the residents still will be obligated to pay the city’s new $2.81 per month fee.
Jeff Joseph said it is pretty easy for him to predict what that will mean for his nearly 12-year old business, Jeff’s Curbside Recycling.
“It is unfortunate because it probably will put us out of business,” Joseph said.
A bigger question, however, may be whether the current group of private recycling companies will continue to offer service up until the October 2014 start date for the city.
Joseph said he would continue to operate in a business-as-usual mode for the foreseeable future.
Deffenbaugh Industries, the largest of the private recycling companies with about 3,500 customers in Lawrence, said it would continue its weekly recycling service for the immediate future.
“We’ll just have to keep our customers informed as it unfolds,” Deffenbaugh said.
Other private recycling companies include Community Living Opportunities, D.R.A.W. Services, Home Recycling Service, Sunflower Curbside Recycling and Tree Hugger Recycling.
City officials previously have explained that the system needs to charge every household in the city the $2.81 per month fee in order to gain the economies of scale to make a citywide program financially feasible.
The proposed system doesn’t include service for commercial businesses, which could present an opportunity for private companies.
But it may be a short-lived opportunity. Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works, said he expects the city in the next few years will start looking at how it can serve commercial market with its recycling program.