Archive for Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lawrence approves citywide curbside recycling program to begin in October 2014

March 26, 2013


A citywide curbside recycling program is on the way for delivery in Lawrence by October 2014.

“There is not going to be another city in the country that allows their residents to recycle so many materials so easily,” City Commissioner Aron Cromwell said. “This is a chance for us to become the progressive community we all talk about.”

City commissioners on Tuesday agreed to start a new every-other-week curbside recycling service on Oct. 15, 2014. Every household in the city will pay $2.81 per month for the service. The fee will be added onto residents’ monthly city utility bills.

Commissioners created the new service on a 4-1 vote. City Commissioner Mike Amyx voted against the proposal, saying he wanted the city to look for ways to lessen the effect the new service would have on the approximately half-dozen private recycling companies that operate in the city.

“I feel like we are going through a taking of these people’s businesses,” Amyx said. “I’m not sure it is our job to put somebody out of business.”

State law requires the city to wait 18 months, in large part to give private haulers time to adjust their business plans. City commissioners said they didn’t think buying out the private companies would be financially feasible.

The private companies will be allowed to continue operating, if they receive a license fromthe city. But their businesses are expected to be affected because the new service will require every household to pay the $2.81 fee to the city, even if the household chooses to do business with a private recycler.

The new service will be a single stream recycling system that accepts glass, paper, cardboard, tin, steel, aluminum, scrap metal and plastic containers with recycling symbols #1 through #7.

Commissioners on a 5-0 vote awarded a seven-year contract to Perry-based Hamm Quarries to operate a recycling processing facility just outside of North Lawrence to process the material collected from the new curbside program.


Richard Heckler 5 years ago

One option the city commission could implement. Allow taxpayers to opt out and keep the locals busy. That should not be a big problem administratively.

An option for taxpayers being billed yet want to retain the local recycling people is pay the $2.81 then use the new city recycling containers that will keep stuff dry. The new MRF will allow our locals to not need our stuff sorted which might make life easier.

Would the new containers be a bit much for the local recycler business people? I'll need to ask around.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago


Is city hall investing tax dollars in the for profit MRF operation at Hamm's?

Chad Lawhorn 5 years ago

The city is not a partner in the Hamm facility in the sense that it will have an equity position in the plant. The city did agree to a 7-year contract with Hamm — plus the option of two three year renewals — that is obviously a key factor in the feasibility of Hamm building the facility. Thanks, Chad

John Pultz 5 years ago

I worry about pickup only every other week. We currently use Deffenbaugh recycling and fill the bin to the top most weeks with weekly pickup. We are a family of five and conscientiously recycle all eligible items. Will the new bins be larger than the current Deffenbaugh bins?

parrothead8 5 years ago

The story Chad posted earlier this week addressed that. My Deffenbaugh container is a 65-gallon cart and the ones the city is supposed to be giving out are 95-gallon containers.

jj14 5 years ago

I'm the same way...our Deffenbaugh bin is almost always full - weekly.

Pete_Schweti 5 years ago

Awesome! My already exorbitant "utility" bill is going up--once again for something I didn't ask the gazillion dollar rec center and the gazillion dollar parking garage for Downtown Lawrence, Inc. I mean, erm, LIBRARY.

Is there nothing people in this city won't say no to spending the public's money on?

jafs 5 years ago

Compared to other cities, Lawrence's utility charges are comparable. Many people don't realize that their monthly city bill includes water, sewer, trash, and storm water.

If you recycle a lot, and thus can use the smaller sized trash carts, your bill will go down by a bit. In our case, combining the new recycling charge with the savings on the smallest size cart will increase our bill by less than $1.50.

I agree about the library and sports complex, and voted against the library proposal (did you?)

skinny 5 years ago

Mike Amyx is the only guy on there with any brains. We also need to get rid of Chad and get a new Mayor!!

This is one way to attract retirees to Lawrence!! Just keep raising the prices on everything. I am moving to Vegas, there are no property taxes on homes!

skull 5 years ago

I'm sure the cost of living in Vegas is relatively cheap compared to the midwest too! I wonder what they pay for water out there in the desert?

MarcoPogo 5 years ago

Holy crap, there's an Anti-Chad movement sparking up!

Brian Laird 5 years ago

Clark County, in which Las Vegas resides, does collect property taxes on homes. The rate is a little lower than here, but not a lot lower.

webmocker 5 years ago

skinny 4 hours, 18 minutes ago This is one way to attract retirees to Lawrence!! Just keep raising the prices on everything. I am moving to Vegas, there are no property taxes on homes!

boltzmann 1 minute ago Clark County, in which Las Vegas resides, does collect property taxes on homes. The rate is a little lower than here, but not a lot lower.

Pesky facts!

Tim Bateman 5 years ago

I am not sure the every other week pickup is any cheaper/better than what Deffenbaugh currently offers. They are $5/month but they pick up every week. Like someone else above, I fill up my cart weekly so only going approximately 1.5 times my cart size but picking it up half as often doesn't add up. I do like that they are picking up glass, but that is only going to make the every other week pick-up that much more of a problem.

Joe Adams 5 years ago

So picking up glass isn't any "better" than what Deffenbaugh currently offers? That alone is a huge win to me. As to the every other week, I agree completely but I think it's a bigger win to get glass.

gatekeeper 5 years ago

It's not too hard to throw the glass in my car when running errands and drop it off at one of the many sites in town that accept it.

Chad Lawhorn 5 years ago

The city has told me they will give you an extra recycling cart at no extra charge. (It doesn't work that way with a trash cart.) The city says it will provide the cart at no extra charge because it wants you to recycle as much as possible. Thanks, Chad

George_Braziller 5 years ago

Well this is $2.81 a month I'll be forced to pay for something I'll never use. Right now I take my aluminum to the recycling center and they pay ME for it. Glass goes in the Ripple bin for free, and rarely have any paper or plastic. My total weekly trash consists of one 13 gallon bag from the kitchen and sometimes it's one every two weeks.

parrothead8 5 years ago

You're spending more than $2.81/month in gas to make those trips to the recycling center and the Ripple bin.

vanessaliobanewton 5 years ago

It is either in Oregon or Washington that have a recycling program that allows people to recycle as much as they desire (have as many bins as they need) and they charge people for how many trash cans they have. I'm just briefly looking through Oregon's state law on recycling and their goals and aims. "In 2010, Oregon met its 50 percent statewide recovery goal." It looks like they even provide a mini can option for trash cans. There are some states that are doing recycling very well and researching into how they implemented their programs could prove to be useful.

optimist 5 years ago

If being a "progressive city" means creating government owned enterprises, forcing citizens to contribute to them whether they want to or not, providing inferior service (bi-weekly rather than weekly pick-up), putting private sector companies out of business resulting in the loss of dozens of jobs then why would anyone want to be "progressive". While this sounds all well and good I remember when this "progressive" city sold us on a golf course for the masses. It would be inexpensive to golf there, it would pay for itself and it would welcome everyone. Her we are more than a decade later and the taxpayers have subsidized it most if not every year of its existence, it is far from affordable for most and it seems as restrictive or more so about attire than any of the other courses in the city. When are we going to figure out that with Government involvement nothing ever seems to be what is promised. I expect much of the same here.

Ben Lockwood 5 years ago

I tend to agree, which surprises me. But I think they're treating this as a service akin to other utilities.

Ben Lockwood 5 years ago

Will we have to sort stuff, or just dump it all in the container?

nuts 5 years ago

This isn't even true of Kansas. Hutchinson has offered single stream curbside recycling of these materials for several years now. Lawrence is not nearly as progressive as many in the town want to believe.

parrothead8 5 years ago

I have family members in Massachusetts who have had recycling pickup for almost 30 years now. I'm glad Lawrence is finally doing this, but we're WAY behind.

foggydew 5 years ago

Anyone out there know if there will still be recycling bins in town so those of us in the county can still bring in all our stuff to recycle?

foxli 5 years ago

This. As an apartment dweller, I haul all of my recyclables dutifully to the various big bins around town--the Deffenbaugh ones and the city ones (and Ripple Glass). Are those going to be pulled?

kuguardgrl13 5 years ago

I've heard that the apartment complexes will get recycling dumpsters along with the ones for trash. Our bills will probably go up just like homeowners.

jafs 5 years ago

I haven't seen anything in print that suggests that - the extra charge appears to be solely for homeowners.

foxli 5 years ago

I'm renewing my lease this month, and I've noticed our water bill is already going up.

Chad Lawhorn 5 years ago

I believe there will be. It wasn't specifically addressed last night. But city officials said Hamm will need all the recyclable materials it can get to make its new facility work. So, I suspect there will be a pretty good effort to make it easy for people to drop off recycling at locations in the city. One city commissioner — Dever — mentioned the new business model for the private recycling companies may be to offer their services in the county. I don't know if that pencils out, but it was brought up as an idea. Thanks, Chad

HootyWho 5 years ago

I lived briefly in New Jersey, mandatory recycling there, will i have to wash the cans and bottles? didn't out there, but i lived in an apartment with big bins right outside my door, i just tossed stuff in as i used it

Sunny Parker 5 years ago

Forced to pay for something I will not use! Cromwell is a joke!

Ben Lockwood 5 years ago

You'll refuse to recycle? Even when they pick it up for you?

MarcoPogo 5 years ago

While I don't agree with the way this has all gone down, it seems that not using something that you're paying for is a bit of a joke.

gatekeeper 5 years ago

Just want to remind everyone that instead of throwing aluminum in the recycling bins, please take it to the Animal Shelter. They use the funds to help spay and neuter animals, cutting down on the population of unwanted pets. They have a fenced area to put it in that's open during their regular business hours.

UneasyRider 5 years ago

Sure they could use it, but I have a real problem supporting the Humane society since Midge was forced out. Don't like the new management and their policies at all

gatekeeper 5 years ago

I totally agree with you and that's why I don't donate money to them any more. BUT, if you donate supplies they are used for the care of the animals and the funds from the cans are given to low income people that would have a hard time affording the vet bill to fix their anima (it cost me almost $500 to fix my female catl. The money from the cans go to a good cause. Remember that the animals that are there do need help - don't forget about them.

I so wish our shelter would follow in the footsteps of Great Plain SPCA or the Humane Society of Great KC. Wonderful, no-kill shelters. SPCA, on top of their wonderful shelter, has low cost vet care and super cheap spay and neutering. Been helping me fix feral cats for close to nothing. Just opened a facility on the MO side and working with Independence and other cities doing trap, neuter, release. Our shelter would just kill them. The HS of GKC works with KCK animal control and takes all animals they would put down. The kill rate from KCK is close to zero because of this wonderful partnership. Our shelter is run by power-hungry idiots that have their own interests at heart, not the interests of the animals. There are some good employees there, but the board can suck it. I worked with many past board members when they got rid of Midge to try to stop what they were doing. You'll notice all the older, large donors will now only give supplies and made them remove their names from some of the rooms they sponsored.

Again, please think about the animals that still need our help.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

You can also put it in Cans for Community containers located around town. They support many local charities.

parrothead8 5 years ago

Not supporting the animals because you don't like the people doesn't seem rational. That's just a dog's perspective, though.

aryastark1984 5 years ago

Just happy someone is finally going to pick up glass!

headdoctor 5 years ago

You might as well save on your water bill from wasting the water to rinse out the glass containers. Most of it will eventually end up in the landfill anyway. Sand and the heat to make glass is still cheaper than cost of buying and remaking recycled glass into something useful.

Recycling has always been tied to the economics of it. Being more green and sustainable is a noble cause but more often than not the purpose ends up not being so green or sustainable.

Conz24 5 years ago

So businesses are already providing a service which the government will compete using a forced pay but voluntary system therefore lowering the cost to the point of eliminating private jobs and replacing them with government jobs. This is insane! How will they address the layoffs or downsizing private companies will have to do when they lose 100% of the recycling customers? More government spending no doubt!

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Last night at the CC meeting it was revealed that if residents need more than one 95 gallon container no problem and no additional cost.

The cost to customers is outstanding however why not charge $5.00 a month for weekly pick-up?

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

I've written our recycler pick-up person to get a feel for what's up. Has anyone from the LJW been in contact with these sources?

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

The first bid was discussed at a commission meeting. The contract specs were rewritten with more detail and put out for bids again.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

Lawrence's unfriendly towards business reputation is not because of neighborhoods. It's the city commissions that discourage home grown and existing businesses. Think KMart closed off by construction, Potter's gas station not allowed to improve, Alvamar Golf Course forced to compete with the city course, struggling athletic clubs forced to compete with Parks and Rec, . . . Now, the city is forcing independent recycling businesses out of business, because the city cannot afford to buy them out? Something wrong with contracting?

I do support curbside recycling. At least the city is working with Hamm, a local business. I wonder if the city has opened itself up to a lawsuit by the independents.

avarom 5 years ago

Welcome to the Kansas Canspiracy.....just wait until they start really getting into the "Go Green Theory" stop giving out plastic bags at the grocery stores..... start charging for groceries bags (5-10 cents) if you don't bring your own.....this is just the start start saving those bags.......Yup!

Ben Lockwood 5 years ago

that seems reasonable, doesn't it? get reuseable bags, save some waste...

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Or start using Coleman cooler like devices which can carry quite a lot. Also no need to rush home if other errands are on the list.

avarom 5 years ago

Only problem with the whole Canspiracy is..... you pay the garbage recycle the pay the redemption on the plastic every time you purchase a bottle/can....... the garbage company makes the money from your work to recycle/separation efforts... and more when they sell it back to other companies..........sounds fair to me..........they get the work for FREE!!

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Or if a relatively small amount of groceries are bought don't use any bags or boxes. Simply empty the grocery cart on to the car seat.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

It is sad that the city will not allow taxpayers to opt out of this deal in favor of our own private choices . Our recycler person advised that when city hall takes over he is done.

For commissioners to infer that Lawrence has been doing local recyclers a favor by not taking this matter on is arrogance beyond belief. Then implying by putting them out of business it should push their creative buttons on ways to continue.

Remember these are the big campaign spending local business people that think this way Then voters turn around and vote in the big campaign spenders one more time yet failing to notice these new faces are like the existing faces = no change.

avarom 5 years ago

Yep.....Kinda makes you feel the Polls are Fixed.....but that would never happen!

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