City to get proposals for recycling hereThe City Council’s Public Works Committee decided Tuesday to request proposals for curbside collection and recycling in Jamestown. City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf presented the preliminary results of research done on regional recycling programs and companies. City staff contacted 12 cities and 10 recycling firms to find out what works and what doesn’t.
The City Council’s Public Works Committee decided Tuesday to request proposals for curbside collection and recycling in Jamestown.
City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf presented the preliminary results of research done on regional recycling programs and companies. City staff contacted 12 cities and 10 recycling firms to find out what works and what doesn’t.
“We wanted to give you a precursor of where our research is taking us,” Schwartzkopf said.
Among the cities, some prefer to do it all while others prefer an outside firm do it all. In between those two, he said, the recycling approaches used by cities were “all over the map.” No city seemed to be very enamored of its recycling program, according to the research, he said.
“Every community seems to have different ways of doing this,” Schwartzkopf said.
There were cities that did curbside collection and outsourced recycling. Fargo is one. The city has curbside pickup and 27 drop-off locations. It collects and delivers the material to a third party. Other cities, such as Bismarck, have only drop-off locations. Cities also differed on what they collected and whether they charged a fee. But one thing was universal.
“Cities do not make money recycling,” Schwartzkopf said.
If the city did the entire recycling program, setting up, staffing and equipping it would make it costly, he said. Schwartzkopf said staff is still willing to come up with some figures but with the myriad options for collection, sorting and disposal, the estimates would be on the high side.
“The biggest problem communities seem to have is all the different ways of doing this,” he said.
But partial city involvement in the recycling program is worse. Schwartzkopf said it generated the most negative comments. Partial city involvement is also deemed to be the least efficient and most costly of the programs.
“A partial city collection is not very acceptable,” he said. “What we’re running into with all the cities is either do it all or outsource it all.”
The recycling companies also had different requirements and took different items. As an example, Delaney Recycling in Williston will take only aluminum cans. Green Lights Recycling in Blaine, Minn., accepts only lights and light bulbs. Neither Gerdau-Ameristeel or West-end Hide and Fur in Jamestown takes anything but tin and aluminum cans.
Only two recycling firms expressed more than a passing interest in the job, Schwartzkopf said — Renaissance Recycling in Jamestown and MinnKota Recycling in Fargo. The two companies would consider city collection and provide disposal and transportation. But both preferred to do it all.
“Both entities would prefer to do the ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach. They’d take care of all of it,” he said. “And outsourcing may be the cheapest and easiest way for the city to go.”
The two companies would operate differently, Schwartzkopf said. One wants a single stream and much larger container. The other wants material sorted into four different containers. Both want commercial recycling in the mix as it’s the most lucrative.
“They’ll take residential if they can do commercial,” Schwartzkopf said.
City Administrator Jeff Fuchs said the two companies would also prefer a long-term contract — at least five years — to cover the initial investment in equipment and staff. He added the city would do the billing.
City Councilman Pat Nygaard suggested Fuchs, Schwartzkopf and City Attorney Ken Dalsted as well as other staff put together a request for proposals to send out to recycling companies.
“Outsourcing seems to be the most efficient and effective way to do the recycling program,” Nygaard said.
He said the draft of a request for proposals could be presented at a special City Council meeting later in January for approval.
The agreement with Renaissance Recycling was renewed for 2011. However, the Public Works Committee opted for a month-to-month agreement, pending startup of the curbside recycling program.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org