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Assembly moves ahead with co-mingled recycling

 


Borough residents will soon likely have the option to participate in a co-mingled recycling program after the assembly approved an updated sanitation ordinance during first reading.

The Petersburg Borough will incentivize recycling by increasing garbage collection rates by 20 percent—a monthly increase of around $5 for most users. Those who choose to recycle won’t have to pay the difference.

“The folks that choose not to recycle for whatever reason would then end up paying higher cost that would help fund the program,” said Karl Hagerman, public works director during a report to the borough assembly last month. “The people that are recycling and increasing our aversion rate are doing their part to pay for the system.”

The curbside co-mingled program would allow residents to mix items in a bag instead of separating recyclables and unloading them at a collection point.

The program comes after a successful co-mingled trial program ran this past summer and a recommendation by Hagerman.

Currently, around 10.5 percent of Petersburg residents recycle. The borough would need to see that number rise to 30 percent to pay for the program. The rate would avert roughly 760 tons of recyclable material a year from the waste stream. And the more people recycle, the less the borough has to pay for solid waste disposal.

If more than half the community recycled, a goal Hagerman wants to achieve within seven years, the borough would save more than $100,000 a year in solid waste disposal. It would also mean more recycled materials would leave Petersburg on barges than solid waste that would otherwise head to the local landfill.

Materials to be included in the comingled program include all recyclable plastics (with the exception of styrofoam and plastic bags), rinsed food containers, tin cans, aluminum cans, junk mail, catalogs, phone books, newspapers, magazines, office paper, unbroken glass bottles and jars and broken down cardboard.

The new rate structure would be implemented when the program begins. Hagerman said he hopes to have the program, if it passes, rolled out as early as January or as late as March.

The assembly will hold a public hearing during its second reading of the updated sanitation ordinance at its November 25 meeting.

 

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