At Monday night’s Oak Ridge North City Council meeting, council members unanimously approved an 89 cents increase in recycling fees, stemming from a request from Waste Management.
Terry Woodson, public sector solutions manager with Waste Management, originally addressed city council members at the July 9 City Council meeting and said the company is requesting to add 96 cents to the charges to the city for recycling. The increase is due to changes to the market precipitated by the Chinese ban of certain materials as well as limitations on contamination, Woodson said. However, at last night's city council meeting, Woodson presented a new option to city council members and a lower rate increase.
"One of our options is to stop accepting glass at the level we do now and we can reduce the contamination rate," Woodson said. "Glass has negative value because we pay for that to be processed. Right now glass is 6.4 percent of [recyclable materials] collected. We know it might not be 100 percent gone but even when the City of Houston decided [to reduce glass] a couple of years ago, they were at a really a high number and they dropped below `10 percent, which was a huge saving for Houston."
Woodson said that by cutting glass out of the recycling program at Oak Ridge North, the contamination level in the recycling program could get below 25 percent.
"89 cents will be added to monthly fee and will work with the city to accomplish these goals as far as holding open house or town hall meeting to educate the public," Woodson said. "With education and everyone doing their part, your community can become a bright star."
City Manager Vicky Rudy agreed with Woodson and said educating the public would play a big part in lowering the contamination level in the recycling program.
"It's going to take a concentrated education program run by the city to make sure that information stays out there until its learned," Rudy said.
Woodson said the recycling fee increase will be not taken into effect until October when the city of Oak Ridge North updates its annual rate increases.