Renaissance Recyling says it still has problems but is working to increase efficiency, be more user friendlyRenaissance Recycling says it’s open and has no plans to close despite fears earlier this year. The center closed in February after its former owners determined commodity prices were too low and rent was too high. It reopened under new ownership in March, but encountered similar problems like low commodity prices and not enough volume to recycle.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
Renaissance Recycling says it’s open and has no plans to close despite fears earlier this year.
The center closed in February after its former owners determined commodity prices were too low and rent was too high. It reopened under new ownership in March, but encountered similar problems like low commodity prices and not enough volume to recycle.
“We’re not planning on closing,” said Ralph Friebel, owner of Renaissance Recycling.
Even with a city subsidy of $2,500 a month, officials feared the business wouldn’t make enough money to stay open.
Problems still exist, Friebel said. But the center has increased its efficiency and made its recycling drop-off space more user friendly, said Mark Gray, operations manager.
“We’re trying to do the things that we can,” Friebel said.
Commodity prices fell to about 25 percent of what they were in summer 2008. Cardboard, for example, is worth about $50 a ton now compared to $180 15 months ago, he said.
Renaisance Recycling can’t help commodity prices, Friebel said. But it can make efforts to increase the flow of recyclable materials into the site.
One of those efforts is spearheaded by the Jamestown Recycling Task Force. Members of the group are researching the possibility of adding curbside pick up to the Jamestown area, said Christie Jarland, co-chair. Some cities, like Fargo, already have such a service.
There, recyclable materials are picked up every other week. Homeowners set the recyclables out with the trash, although they separate the trash from the recyclable materials.
The service is still in the planning stages, but Friebel said it would cost homeowners about $4 a month.
In Fargo, the service is free. That’s because the city saves space in its landfill — a commodity more valuable than the cost to pick up materials, officials said.
More than 200 people have signed a task force petition, located at the recycling center, stating their willingness to pay for curbside pick up, Friebel said. Also, online readers answered The Jamestown Sun’s unscientific poll regarding curbside pickup. Of the 368 who did not indicate they weren’t from Jamestown, 59 percent said they were willing to pay $3-$5 a month for the curbside pick up of recyclable materials.
The curbside service benefits residents because it makes recycling more convenient, Friebel said. Now, residents haul their materials to the recycling center where they then sort newspapers, pop bottles and cereal boxes into their respective bins.
Curbside service also benefits the city, Gray said. It reduces waste in the landfill and extends its life.
“In the long term, it only benefits the city,” he said.
While it plans, the task force seeks to raise awareness about the recycling center, what it offers and the hours it’s available, Jarland said.
“A lot of our mission is trying to get people aware,” she said.
Renaissance Recycling receives most of its material from businesses. The material it recycles most is cardboard — about 60 tons a month.
Recycling helps businesses too, Friebel said, because it keeps their garbage costs down.
Six years ago, Jamestown High School recycled newspaper and printing paper, said Fran Silbernagel, head of maintenance and the custodial department at Jamestown High School.
Now the school recycles more materials, he said.
“We recycle pretty much everything but garbage,” he said.
Those efforts mean the school decreased its Dumpster use from two Dumpsters emptied five times a week to one Dumpster emptied three times a week. That’s a cost savings of about $1,500 a year, said Sally Ost, business manager.
The recycling center requested the city increase its subsidy from $2,500 a month to $5,000 a month. The Jamestown City Council expects to discuss the request at a December meeting.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org