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City set to finalize curbside recycling program to begin October 2014; monthly rate $2.81


Lawrence residents, you have about 18 months to come up with an extra $2.81 per month.

Before this Lawrence City Commission gets kicked to the curb with the April 2 election, it wants to make sure it finalizes a plan to create a city-wide, city-run curbside recycling program.

Commissioners are set to do just that at their Tuesday evening meeting. Commissioners will approve an ordinance that officially creates the program, and that ordinance contains the details that many folks have been waiting for. 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 on Oct. 15, 2014. That’s also when the $2.81 per month rate increase will take effect. After Oct. 15, 2014, it will be illegal for any other company to collect recycling materials generated by residents "unless authorized by license or other formal agreement with the city." I'm still checking to see what that means for private companies that currently offer the service. (Businesses will still be able to contract with private companies for their recycling needs.)

• Frequency: Curbside collection will happen once every two weeks. The city will create a schedule showing what days each area of town is served. I’ve previously been told that this new service is likely to cause the trash day for many residents across the city to be changed. Your recycling will go out the same day your trash does.

• 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, So, as you’ve probably already determined, the recycling cart will be a bit bigger. I’ll try to get you actual dimensions, so you can start cleaning out your garage. Residents, though, can request a smaller cart. And since residents won’t be required to recycle, they can simply refuse to receive a cart from the city. But those folks still will pay the $2.81 per month fee. In case you haven’t figured it out, the city wants you to recycle. And by requiring everyone to pay the fee, that’s how its created the economy of scale to keep the cost below $3 per month.

• Accepted materials. All recycling will be single stream, which means you just throw it all into your cart. Here’s what will be accepted:

— Glass bottles and jars

— Mixed paper such as magazines, junk mail, chipboard, telephone books and other similar materials

— Newspapers

— Office and printer paper

— Shredded paper, as long as it is bagged in a clear, plastic bag

— Cardboard containers, such as a 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 #1 through #7

• Dumpsters: If you live in an area where your trash service is by dumpster, you won’t be getting a cart. Instead, the city will place a recycling dumpster next to your trash dumpster.

• Crews: City crews — the same department that picks up your trash — will pick up your 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 multi-million 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 $5.00 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.

Commissioners will be asked to approve the necessary ordinance and the necessary agreement with Hamm to start the service. A majority of commissioners have indicated strong support for the program. This current commission will change after the April 2 election. Per usual, three of the five seats are up for election. This year, only one incumbent — Mike Amyx — is seeking election. So commissioners want to wrap up the curbside recycling issue before the changing of the guard occurs.


Glo 5 years, 3 months ago

Does the monthly fee charged to customers cover all costs, including wages to city workers, fuel costs, truck maintenance, cost for containers, etc., or is the city chipping in?

parrothead8 5 years, 3 months ago

Chad, do you have any idea about the dimensions of the 95-gallon cart?

I, for one, think this is about 75% a good idea. The price is fine, although I wish the city was going to do weekly pickups (like Deffenbaugh does) instead of bi-weekly. I suppose having a larger cart than I have with Deffenbaugh should help with that, but the larger cart also poses a problem for our tiny 1-car garage.

joes_donuts 5 years, 3 months ago

Your Deffenbaugh card is 95 gallons. So if you fill it every week now, the cart you will get will not be big enough. I fill mine every week as is, so I am in trouble as well.

parrothead8 5 years, 3 months ago

Actually, I found it on Deffenbaugh's site and it is 65 gallons, so the city's larger cart should be helpful if pickup is only bi-weekly.

smileydog 5 years, 3 months ago

The writing's on wall. It is time to move away from the earth Nazis.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 3 months ago

Godwinned in three! Might be a new record around here ...

fan4kufootball 5 years, 3 months ago

Need the option of smaller carts! Or can we just opt out of receiving a cart altogether?

valgrlku 5 years, 3 months ago

Article reads that you can opt out (or request a smaller one) but will still be charged the monthly fee. A larger cart is easily fillable in two-weeks' time, considering everything they're accepting as recyclable, I think.

headdoctor 5 years, 3 months ago

I bet Deffenbaugh is going to be pleased along with the local companies that will get ruined.

I wonder how they are going to fine people who aren't following the recycle rules besides what is in their cart. Hard to prove who threw what into the street or alley.

valgrlku 5 years, 3 months ago

How does this impact those of us who have alley/lot Dumpsters and not trash cans? I recycle now, but curb(alley)side would be more convenient, especially with taking plastics #1-7, which most places will not.

valgrlku 5 years, 3 months ago

Ah... answered my own question, re-reading the article - more information on it would be helpful though. Our alley Dumpster already takes up too much space, and often, the workers leave it partially blocking a parking space. There is literally no more room for another dumpster at our place. Considering that our alley has at least 6 Dumpsters (and no room for 6 more), I would think it might be consolidated somehow?

Will we each be charged the monthly fee, or will it be divided? As it stands now, I believe we are each individually charged for trash service (which is hit and miss, at best - so much so that I've had to contact the city at least twice for our trash not being removed on schedule).

Catalano 5 years, 3 months ago

"After Oct. 15, 2014, it will be illegal for any other company to collect recycling materials generated by residents."

How many small businesses will this rule eliminate? And does this refer only to curbside pickup, or will it be illegal for places like 12th & Haskell Recycle Center to continue to operate (residents use that service now).

true_patriot 5 years, 3 months ago

I had the same concern. I don't like the idea of legalizing monopolies. For now, the program would generally help the local economy in off-setting ways but once that monopoly is encoded into law or ordinance, it's so easy for it to be sold off to a Deffenbaugh or even something more remotely where the lion's share of the cash flows out of our local economy.

I also don't like the fact that this approach effectively punishes those individuals and small businesses that have been managing their own recycling for years now. It's still cheaper and more convenient for me to have my few small recycling tubs on shelves in my garage that don't take up much space and make a monthly or bi-monthly run to a local recycling business when it's convenient for me rather than to find more non-existent space in my own garage for another city container that can only be used exactly how the city says it can be used, has to be out on certain days, can get fined if it ever accidentally gets deployed with non-approved content in it, and somehow I don't have the option to opt-out even though I've been recycling for years.

I see this as turning into yet another line item on the monthly bill that now has the ability to just keep escalating year after year even though wages are stagnant or dropping.

irvan moore 5 years, 3 months ago

way to rush another deal through commissioners. wouldn't want the next commission to have a chance for input or oversight

Lee Saylor 5 years, 3 months ago

Wow. Everyone is upset that the city might require us to recycle. I moved to Lawrence in 1992 from upstate New York. I had curbside recycling there then. I'd say that Lawrence is at least 20 years behind everyone else. For a city that claims to be earth friendly, etc. I see alot folks complaining. Just in case you check my previous comments, I do object to every other week collection, as it will be less capacity than I currently have with Deffenbaugh.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

I am complaining because I was already recycling for years for free and he money from those recyclables went to the schools who had the recycling dumpsters on their property.

Now I am forced to pay for a service that I do not need and do not want. Additionally the money Hamm makes off the recyclables go into his pocket and I prefer not to enrich him any further.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

This matter is also on the CC agenda..... however Chad has provided more information. Answered the three questions that the agenda item brought about.

Thanks Chad

Deffenbaugh is out and the City is in regarding residential recycling. And all of the locals are out as of Oct 15,2014.

Orwell 5 years, 3 months ago

Is it correct that Classes 1 through 7 include ALL recyclable (triangle-marked) plastics? I hope so; those damn numbers are often too small to read. It's enough of an eyesight exercise just to find the "recyclable" symbol on a lot of packaging.

And yes, I know this makes me officially old.

Bruce Liddel 5 years, 3 months ago

Fascism run amuck. Mala Prohibita. Oh, exhalted City Commissioners, please protect the masses from private entrepreneurs who would dare to pickup our recyclable items at our curb. Never mind that the city said twelve years ago that our landfill would last 150 years, and that curbisde recycling would cost $50 a month. When private industry came in, first at $20 a month, then at $5 a month, the commissioner squawked "How dare they make liars out of us?", and so this is their response: Put those evil businesses out of business! Eliminate choice! Control the subjects! One size must be made to fit all, no matter the consequences!

Seig Heil!, I mean, hail victory! Big government at its worst, right here in River City.

Orwell 5 years, 3 months ago

I agree with your concern about running private sector recyclers out of business, but equating that with a government that murdered millions is just foolish. Every time that comparison is made, the person who makes it instantly loses all credibility.

FlintlockRifle 5 years, 3 months ago

Can we go "dumpster diving"" and get aluminum to sell and get $$$ to offset the monthly fee??, I all ready know the answer, just having fun here , but someday we have to stop being taxed and fee"ed to death, Thanks for the memories C.C

Alan Potter 5 years, 3 months ago

I wonder what will stop my dumpster-diving junk hound neighbors from clearing out all the scrap metal and aluminum from our alley.

FlintlockRifle 5 years, 3 months ago

Oh I forgot, Chan would it be OK to write you in on April 2nd?? All those in favor say " i "", son your are on the ballot ====you and Mike are the only ones without an ax to grind or gain anything

FlintlockRifle 5 years, 3 months ago

Sorry there CHAD, fat fingered your name, CHAD, CHAD,CHAD,CHAD,CHAD,CHAD,CHAD, YEP I got it.

headdoctor 5 years, 3 months ago

If the City thinks I am just going to hand over my metal to be recycled and pay them to take it they can kiss the shamrock green of my part Irish rear. They will probably have to raise the rates right away to pay for legal defense. Don't think them playing the "Home Rule" card will work on this one.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

I will be refusing the cart and when the program starts, unless there is an exemption for the schools to continue to be paid for the recyclables they collect, all of my recyclables will be going straight into the trash.

And it is unlikely, even if the schools fall under the business exception, that Deffenbaugh will continue to pick up the recyclables and pay them for it.

The City of Lawrence is taking money away from schools, putting private legal businesses out of commision and will be taking jobs away from the disabled (jobs will be cut when Walmart cuts them due to decreased usage - assuming that Walmart will be allowed to keep their center open by the city).

jafs 5 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like an odd plan.

You still have to pay for the recycling, even if you don't use it, and if you believe in it, why stop?

Deffenbaugh isn't a great company, from many reports, and they're the ones in Dillons' parking lot and many others.

I share your concerns about the dd folks at Wal-Mart, and schools, but I'm not sure that not recycling will affect them in any positive way, and it would harm the environment.

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