• December 27, 2014

Easier option

Cove considers switch to single-stream recycling service to eliminate sorting, add more items to collect

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Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 11:47 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

COPPERAS COVE — An easier way to recycle is a possibility for solid waste customers as the council continues to discuss using a material processing facility in Williamson County.

Taylor-based Wilco Recycling offered the city a chance to become a single-stream recycling operation and make use of its processing plant.

Compared to Copperas Cove’s current operations, single-stream recycling would mean residents and the collection crews wouldn’t have to sort items. The city could provide a large container and more types of materials could be collected.

“Single stream, it not only makes it easier for the resident, but it also makes it easier for the collection guy,” said Silvia Rhoads, the city’s recycling coordinator. “It is very time consuming for the driver to get out and place the materials into divided compartments in the city’s trucks.”

Rhoads called the possibility of using this service a “win, win, win” as it would benefit the city, the resident and the environment.

In a pitch to the council last week, John Rabon, a Wilco Recycling partner, said several communities that make use of the

facility have received higher participation rates because of single stream as well as thousands of dollars in rebates from the materials they collect for the plant.

Cedar Park started working with Wilco in February 2010 through its garbage collection company, said Jennie Huerta, spokeswoman for the city. Since that time, Cedar Park has seen an increase of 14.3 tons of recyclable material collected per month.

“We have approximately 16,671 homes average about 40 pounds (of recyclables) monthly,” Huerta said. “We have pretty wide-spread participation.”

Copperas Cove’s participation in recycling is only about 25 percent of residents, Rhoads said. But if the city begins single-stream service, it could increase to 80 or 95 percent.

“Once we make it single stream there is no reason people shouldn’t participate,” she said.

Huerta said Cedar Park couldn’t give the increase in participation after its switch to single stream because the city already offered residents recycling with solid waste collection.

The difference for Cedar Park was what people could recycle, and that everything could be placed into one 96-gallon container, Huerta said.

“The way to gauge participation is looking at the weight,” she said. “Everyone is given a recycle bin.”

Copperas Cove City Manager Andrea Gardner on Tuesday said giving every resident a 96-gallon bin would be the goal in Copperas Cove.

What it would cost

Purchasing the new containers would be the only up-front cost to the city, Gardner said during the meeting. But the city could need another collection truck as well.

Copperas Cove would probably continue to provide collection services in-house, but Gardner didn’t foresee a reason the city would need to hire more employees since the city’s recycling route already requires employees to drive down every city street.

There would be no cost to use the facility, Rabon said. The company generates revenue by taking the recycling and selling it to vendors and it provides a rebate to its users.

“Our cities never have to budget a bill,” he said. “They don’t get a bill from us.”

Rabon said Copperas Cove would probably see a rebate similar to Cedar Park, which received about $36,000 in the last fiscal year.

The rebate was for about 8,722 tons of materials, Huerta said.

As Copperas Cove made about $41,000 last year with about 450 tons of recyclable material, the real cost savings for the city would come from diversion cost, Rhoads said.

The city saved almost $17,000 for the year with its current recycling program, she said. That amount will only increase as participation increases.

“It would depend on our volume,” said Rhoads about the overall savings and revenue. “But the more people that participate, the more revenue we will get.”

Rabon estimated that going to single stream would divert an additional 10 tons of material, which would save the city about $240 each day.

Gardner said the city budgets between $1 million to $1.2 million a year for hauling and disposing of material at the landfill.

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