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Curbside recycling committee recommending city sign contract with Hamm Companies for local recycling center; question of whether to accept glass still undecided


So, this is what Lawrence’s more than year long process to add curbside recycling has come to: Would you like to supersize that?

City residents, and more directly city commissioners, are at the point of the ordering process where they have to decide just how much value they want to get out of their value meal. Or in other words, they have to decide how much extra they’re willing to pay for a few extras.

Commissioners will be tackling that subject at their meeting on Tuesday.

Unlike at your favorite fast food establishment, in the world of curbside recycling the choices don’t come down to whether you would like a mega fry or a super mega fry. Based on a new report out of City Hall, it appears commissioners have two decisions to make:

• How much extra are they willing to pay to have glass included in the city’s curbside recycling program.

• How much extra are they willing to pay to do business with a locally based company.

The city committee responsible for making a recommendation to the commission has punted on the idea of whether glass should be included in the city’s programs. City commissioners will have to figure that out sans a recommendation. For much of the last year, staff members have been assuming glass would not be part of the program. But last month the mayor and a few other commissioners expressed interest in adding glass once they saw the first round of bids for the service.

On the second issue, though, the city committee is making a strong recommendation to do business with a local company. The committee is recommending the city sign a contract with Perry-based Hamm Companies to build and operate a new recycling processing center just outside of North Lawrence.

That also would mean city of Lawrence crews would be responsible for collecting the curbside recycling materials. The city is recommending that option over two turnkey proposals from Kansas City’s Deffenbaugh Industries and Topeka’s Waste Management. Both of those companies already have recycling processing facilities, and both were proposing to have their private crews pick up the curbside recycling.

Both also are proposing to do so at a price that is less than the city’s recommended option. It still looks like a safe bet that curbside recycling will add less than $4 per month to the bills of city residents, even if the city includes glass in the program. But the city recommendation for city crews do the collection and to go with the brand new Lawrence-based center will add an extra 48 cents to 58 cents per month onto the bills of Lawrence residential trash customers, compared to the other proposals.

Here’s a quick look at the pricing options for what appears to be the top three options:

• Deffenbaugh Industries: Its crews would collect and its Kansas City center would process materials. Unlike the other companies, Deffenbaugh is not offering direct curbside service for glass, but has said it would work with Ripple Glass on a program. Monthly costs for the program: $2.25 to $2.57.

• Waste Management: Its crews would collect and its Topeka center would process materials. It has an option to either included glass in the curbside program or exclude it. Monthly costs for the program with glass: $2.81 to $3.22. Cost for the program without glass: $2.57 to $2.98 per month.

• Hamm Companies: Its lone proposal is for city of Lawrence crews to collect, while Hamm would process the material at a new facility it would build near the Douglas County-Leavenworth County line at the intersection of U.S. 24-40 Highway and Kansas Highway 32. The property currently is operated by Honey Creek Disposal, a solid waste company that provides service in several smaller towns, but Hamm has an option to buy the site. Hamm officials have said the center would involve a multimillion-dollar construction project and would employ 15 to 20 people once it becomes operational. Monthly costs for the program with glass: $3.39 to $3.78. Monthly costs without glass: $2.69 to $3.08.

At the moment, all recommendations focus on service being an every-other-week system. It appears cost concerns have eliminated the idea of weekly service at this point. All recommendations assume customers would be issued a 96-gallon plastic cart, which is a bit bigger than the city’s standard issue 65-gallon cart it uses for trash.

Like previous proposals, the new city system would be based on a "mandatory pay, voluntary usage system." That means every residential property in the city — single-family and multifamily — would pay for the curbside service, regardless of whether it's used.

Commissioners will sort out all the details at a 6:35 p.m. meeting on Tuesday at City Hall. Here’s hoping there at least will be some fries to help us get through the meeting.


steveguy 5 years, 3 months ago

We already have a very good recycle center at Walmart. So save your money. This is another example of the city wasteing our money.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 3 months ago

It's OK for what it is ... they don't accept a wide enough variety of plastic containers though. Deffenbaugh will take #1-7 (at least that's what they claim on their bins)

fearsadness14 5 years, 3 months ago

not enough people take advantage of that in Lawrence for it to be enough of an impact. Per capita recycling will skyrocket with curbside pickup, especially with the inclusion of glass.

alfie 5 years, 3 months ago

What I have a problem with is as a 1 person household I do not need a 95 gal. I would empty it about twice a year. They at least need to offer the smaller trash can. Another concern is all the trash cans that will be setting outside each home throughout Lawrence, won't that look great. Plastic art for all....

1julie1 5 years, 3 months ago

We may have to pay for this, but we will be opting out and will not accept a 95 gallon cart. We don't have a place for it. Why can't they allow different size carts, as they do for the garbage carts, particularly if the city is doing the pickups? We could deal with one more smallest size cart in our tiny garage, but 95 gallons is out of the question. So is the current medium-size cart. Such poor, poor planning by the city.

golfguy 5 years, 3 months ago

I agree. I do not have room in my one car garage for another huge trash cart. Make a smaller option available or I will refuse the cart as well and continue to take my recycles to Wal-Mart.

alfie 5 years, 3 months ago

that's how i feel. i keep my trash can in my garage and just do not have any more room for another, as does a lot of home owners. A lot of these are going to wind up outside along the house, that sure will look good for residential areas. I hope they will let you pay and just not have to take the trash can

Lee Saylor 5 years, 3 months ago

If you are going to go with city-governed recycling, then it needs to be every week. I use Deffenbaugh and fill the dumpster they provide every week. (Thus reducing what goes into the trash can.) The current proposal of every other week will cause me to recycle less, not more.

Joe Adams 5 years, 3 months ago

I'm pretty sure Deffenbaugh's can currently is actually smaller than what they are proposing we have with the city wide service. I have the big city trash can and it is definitely bigger than Deffenbaugh's. I am hoping for weekly with glass. The majority of my recycling is glass and if we have options to pick it up, it should happen. I'm NOT going to save all my glass and drive it to a recycling center when for less than $1 per month I can have it picked up. So the end result, it ends up in the landfill with all the other trash.

Lee Saylor 5 years, 3 months ago

Deffenbaugh is 65. The proposed city one is 95. 65 x 4 = 260 95 x 2 = 190.

With every other week pickup, I would have to recycle less than I am now.

Joe Adams 5 years, 3 months ago

We usually fill our recycling every week as well (which is why we don't fill our City trash can). So yeah, to go to 95 every two weeks will result in less recycling. Plus, if you include glass into the proposal, which should happen in my opinion, I will fill my recycling can easily each week.

Currently, I use another local recycling company to pick up glass only for $5 / month on top of the Deffenbaugh cost of $5 per month for other recycling. However, if you put these other choices out of business, you should provide those services, especially when they are available and not that much more expensive.

Patricia Davis 5 years, 3 months ago

I hope that curb side glass recycle will be available. With more of us spurning canned goods because of BPA, we are using more glass. Having large cans for regular and recycle and having to find room to store glass to take to another site is taking up a lot of real estate in my garage.

cellogrl 5 years, 3 months ago

I like the proposal, but also feel that the containers will be too large. The other thing I worry about is the Wal-Mart recycling center. They do good work with people in the community (Cottonwood I think?) and I really like their system. I do however like the convenience of curbside recycling. I guess I'm kind of conflicted...

cellogrl 5 years, 3 months ago

Oh and I don't put my trashcans in my garage, I put them on the side of my house. Then I don't have to worry about the room it takes up.

1julie1 5 years, 3 months ago

That's great that you have a side of your house to store a couple of huge plastic carts. There are a great many people in Lawrence in townhouse complexes who have no side to their house, nor any personal space in front of their house for another cart. Not everyone who owns a home in Lawrence is in a single-family dwelling.

golfguy 5 years, 3 months ago

Correct. My HOA covenant does not allow them to be stored outside. Not to mention that it doesn't look very nice.

cellogrl 5 years, 3 months ago

Well I personally am NOT a homeowner, I rent, so please do not assume I am an elitist. That is how I took that comment. The city is providing a service to us for a very minimal price and rather than have the smelly recycling my garage, I am lucky enough to have a place that is concealed from the street on the side of my house. I should not have to apologize for that.

1julie1 5 years, 3 months ago

cellogirl, I did not mean my comment to sound like I thought you were an elitist, and I apologize if you took it that way. You are lucky to have a place that is concealed. But many of us do not and do not have other options.

alfie 5 years, 3 months ago

Yah that sounds better put it on the side of the house and let the neighbors deal with the smell

gccs14r 5 years, 3 months ago

96 gallons is gigantic. Ten would be sufficient for me.

Pete Nachbar 5 years, 3 months ago

I am all for recycling and saving the world. I am also interested in saving valuable tax dollars needed for our roads etc . I say lets support the Deffenbaugh Proposal which will save us, the taxpayers, the money and also save the wear and tear on our City Trash Trucks.

The Hamm outfit is more expensive and isnt even a proven product and it will take time to get them up and running. What is it a couple more years .
Lets get this over with. Go with the cheapest and the most experienced bidder , Deffenbaugh. Get the Trash out of our backyard and into someone elses .

gccs14r 5 years, 3 months ago

Deffenbaugh is cheaper only in the direct cost to the customer, but not if one considers what happens to the money once it's collected. With Deffenbaugh, the money goes to Kansas City to support their residents, and the business taxes collected also go to Kansas City. With Hamm, at least some of the money stays in town.

no_thanks 5 years, 2 months ago

What about the impact of the local customer having more disposable income to spend in Lawrence? This is about allowing competition to lower prices to benefit the broader economy. The City should not be in the solid waste business unless they can do it as efficiently as the competition.

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 3 months ago

As long as the apartment complexes are willing to provide the receptacles, I'm ok with paying a little more for a local company. They're bringing jobs to the county with the recycling center, and the city waste can keep more employees to pick up recycling. As for the apartments, I've been waiting for this since I moved off-campus. KU Recycling and Coca-Cola take most everything. I also grew up always having recycling (glass and all), so not being able to do so easily has been very hard. I don't like having glass and plastic lying around my apartment, and our complex doesn't allow us to store recyclables outside. I can't keep them in my car either (the smell), and it seems wasteful to make constant trips to Walmart or campus. So I don't like your complaints of "I have nowhere to keep this in my house". At least those of you without HOAs won't get yelled at if you have to keep it outside. If Lawrence wants to attract young people to all the new apartments who will eventually move into the single family homes, we need these services. A good portion of Gen Y grew up recycling. We're not going to go backwards. And every other week pick-up was plenty for my family of four unless we had a party. And our company was strict about being able to close the lid on your can, and they would not pick up extra trash either.

1julie1 5 years, 3 months ago

"At least those of you without HOAs won't get yelled at if you have to keep it outside."

I don't know too many townhomes that aren't rentals that don't have HOA's. But I'd be curious. Anybody here in a townhome they own that doesn't have an HOA?

Sunny Parker 5 years, 3 months ago

Forcing residents to pay for something they don't want!

Cai 5 years, 3 months ago

How in the world can we justify forcing curbside recycling if it doesn't take glass? it's not like glass is a common product or anything.

Centerville 5 years, 3 months ago

Assuming this whole thing will be optional?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

I say allow the city and local private business people to pick up. All would likely be deposited at the Hamm's site.

My question? Willl the Hamm's facility be owned an operated by the Hamm's family?

Centerville 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, at least it's voluntary usage. I suppose that big trash can can be used for something.

alfie 5 years, 3 months ago

sounds logical but you will get the "can", if you want it or not

HoneyBadger1 5 years, 3 months ago

I suspect even though Hamms does not propose the turn-key service as WM and Deffenbaugh that they are being recommended because they are "local".

Jefferson County based business with a facility near Leavenworth does not sound local to me.

formerlyanonymous 5 years, 3 months ago

We also fill our Deffenbaugh recycling container to the brim weekly.

Deffenbaugh has been providing a good service inexpensively.....why does the city need to mess with this?

seagull 5 years, 3 months ago

When I first got the Deffenbaugh bin, I thought it was huge and that I'd never fill it. Most weeks I fill it 2/3 full. Don't like the idea of biweekly service, particularly if it means having a huge fat trash bin that won't fit in my garage. Commissioners need to take that into account. Lawrence would be ugly if every house had a huge plastic trash can outside. I've been very happy with Deffenbaugh but it would save gas if a local company ran the service and didn't have to truck the recyclables to KC.

Alex Keiffer 5 years, 3 months ago

It would be silly for Lawrence's recycling program (especially if it involved curbside recycling) to not accept glass. Just plain silly. Up here in conservative Saint Joseph, Missouri, even though we've never had curbside recycling, our recycling program accepts glass. So Lawrence can do the same.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

It is nice to know that our city commission is fine with taking away money from our schools and depriving disabled people of work.

barredjack 5 years, 2 months ago

Only in Lawrence would the commission choose a service that costs more, places the taxpayer at more risk, and hasn't proven to be effective. Deffenbaugh is cheaper, elective, and proven so what's the problem?

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