Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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Lucas Co. seeks joint recycling site with city

Lucas County officials Monday asked the city of Toledo to dedicate all future recyclables collected curbside for 20 years to feed a potential publicly owned materials recycling facility — the latest attempt to build such a plant.

Meanwhile, a Toledo City Council committee Monday reviewed a past-due $145,000 bill owed to a Charlotte company that hauls the city’s recycling to Michigan for processing.

Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken told council’s utilities and public service committee that the county would spend up to $8 million to build a materials recycling facility, but only if the city promises to send its recyclables for at least 20 years.

“If the city wants to save money, it will partner with us,” Mr. Gerken said just before Monday’s meeting. “If they don’t want to save money, then they won’t.”

The city’s recyclables — which are mixed together in a single stream the includes plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, and paper — have been collected by ReCommunity Recycling since 2008. That service costs taxpayers $22,000 a month.

Councilman Lindsay Webb said joining the county on a new facility would save the city $300,000 a year.

“We would lose the trucking costs, because right now the materials are hauled up to the Detroit area,” Ms. Webb said.

There are caveats for the county’s plan. The city would be locked in for 20 years, meaning it could not bid out the work to another facility that might pay for materials should the commodities market surge.

There have been attempts to build a materials recycling facility in Lucas County.

A document prepared by the Collins administration stated: “There is always the possibility that the MRF is never constructed and the deal falls through. If that happens and we make too many commitments, this could have unintended consequences.” But, the city would not have to pay any penalty if the commodity market is below the profit line for the operation.

Under the county’s plan, property owned by OmniSource in North Toledo would be leased to the Lucas County Solid Waste District. A private company would be hired to run the facility, Mr. Gerken said.

Jim Shaw, county sanitary engineer, said the facility could attract business from other Ohio communities that send recyclables to Michigan.

The city is trying to negotiate a new contract with ReCommunity. The firm would lose the city’s 20,000 tons a year of recyclables if council and Mayor D. Michael Collins go along with the county’s request.

The city’s 2010 contract with the company expired in July, 2013, but the firm is honoring the same terms.

Council could vote today to authorize the mayor to negotiate a new contract.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.

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