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
— 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.