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Published: Tuesday, 12/5/2000

Recycling plan for entire city gets May goal

BY LISA A. ABRAHAM
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Curbside recycling is expected for all Toledo residents by the end of May.

The expansion of the program coincides with a proposed contract with the company that processes the city's recyclable materials - a new deal that would allow residents to add magazines to their recycling bins, said Christopher Pizza, the city's administrator of solid waste.

City council is expected to give first reading to the contract at its meeting today.

Only 40 per cent of city households have curbside recycling.

“Our goal is to go to 80 per cent here shortly and 100 per cent by the end of May. Before you know it, it will be available for everybody if you live in the city,” Mr. Pizza said.

Jeff Miller, of 202 University Blvd., lives in a neighborhood where curbside recycling is available and was happy to learn that the city is about to expand its program.

“Finally,” he said.

Mr. Miner said his family of four regularly puts bottles, cans, and newspapers on the curb for bi-weekly pickup. The expansion of the program to include magazines is a change he would welcome, even though he does not usually have many.

“I think that's great. I get enough [magazines] that I would like them to do that, even if they'd get them once a month,” he said.

The city has to expand its recycling program to meet the requirements of the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which are enforcing a state law that calls for communities to decrease the amount of garbage they put in landfills.

Mr. Pizza said the city started curbside recycling in 1989. Over the years the program has changed to pickup every other week and residents using their own containers marked with stickers provided by the city.

The only way the city could afford to expand the program citywide was to collect bi-weekly and to avoid the expense of supplying recycling bins to residents, he said.

Those changes were made about a year and a half ago, when pickup areas increased from 17 per cent of the city to 40 per cent, he added.

“We're committed to expanding,” Mr. Pizza said.

Dave Leffler, acting commissioner of solid waste, said the contract council is considering is a five-year deal with RRS, Inc., a subsidiary of FCR Inc., of Charlotte, N.C.

The city contracts with the company to take the recyclable materials the city collects, process them, and sell them, he said.

The city pays FCR an average of $15,000 a year for the service. Under the terms of the new contract, which is tied to market rates for sale of the discarded papers and containers, the city expects to make money, Mr. Leffler said.

Any money made on the contract would be used to buy new refuse equipment, he said.

FCR offered the longer contract with better rates through the solid waste district on the condition that it get Toledo's business, Mr. Leffler said. The city has 70 per cent of Lucas County's population.

If council approves, the contract would go into effect in January. At that time, residents would be able to start putting magazines in with their newspapers, he said.

As the program expands in 2001, solid waste staff will notify residents when recycling becomes available on their streets, he said.



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