Curbside Recycling to Start Up Again in Green River

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Wyoming Waste Systems photo.

GREEN RIVER– Wyoming Waste Systems gave an update of services at the Green River City Council meeting Tuesday night, in which they said the compacter for recycling has been installed and those services will start again on November 25.

After the transfer station fire that took place last year, the station was unable to sort and process recyclables, and therefore they have been taking all curbside recycling to the landfill since September 2018.

However, according to Michelle Foote, Wyoming Waste Systems Green River site manager, they will begin picking up the comingled curbside recycling once again on Monday, November 25.

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They will put the materials through the compacter at the transfer station, and once the compacter is full, they will drive the materials to Salt Lake City where it will be sorted and processed by Rocky Mountain Recycling.

A flyer outlining the dos and don’ts of recycling will be sent out to residents with their next quarter billing, which will be in February.

Wyoming Waste will be cracking down on contamination in the recycling, as if there is any contamination when it reaches Rocky Mountain Recycling, Wyoming Waste will have to pay $130 per ton for the materials, rather than $65 per ton.

Upon the first contamination discovered, the resident will receive a sticker on their container. Upon the second contamination, another sticker will be placed on the container, and a letter will be sent to the resident regarding the contamination. If a third contamination takes place, Wyoming Waste will contact the resident by phone and tell them what was in the container that should not be.

If the issue persists a fourth time, the container will be removed from the residency and those residents will no longer be provided curbside recycling services.

If more than 25 containers in a day are contaminated, that whole load for the day will be taken to the landfill.

“As you can understand, sorting it at the transfer station is not an option. As far as just having one employee there, there’s too much to go through to put it into the compacter,” Foote said.

Recycling Concerns

Green River City Administrator, Reed Clevenger, asked Foote if Wyoming Waste plans to put stickers on the containers right away after starting the service up again on Monday, to which Foote said that is their plan.

Clevenger pointed out that doing so will not allow Wyoming Waste to get the word out even a full week in advance, as the council meeting took place Tuesday night, and services start up the following Monday. Clevenger said some residents have been using their recycling bins as a second trash container. If those residents are given a sticker before information could reach them, there will be many angry customers.

Mayor Pete Rust echoed this concern.

“It would make a lot of sense for everybody to kind of hold off for a couple weeks before putting stickers on the containers so people can have time to adjust from the education and the word we hope the media will get out,” Mayor Rust said. “It’s just going to make people angry that they’re getting stickers when they didn’t hear.”

Foote said Wyoming Waste will be running ads in the Green River Star to help get the information out, to which Clevenger said is “just one form of communication”.

Clevenger suggested Wyoming Waste have a temporary person on the trucks who can put the educational pamphlets on every bin to ensure every resident gets them.

“You can’t do enough communication,” Clevenger said.

Why Can’t Plastic Bottle Caps be Recycled?

Councilman Robert Berg asked Foote why the bottle caps on plastic bottles are supposed to be removed, as they are both plastic materials.

Foote said they are different types of plastic, and therefore can’t be processed together. The bottle caps contaminate the plastic from the bottles if processed together. Though they cannot be recycled, she said if caps are left on, or are taken off but still thrown in recycling, residents will not receive a sticker for it.

However, Foote said since the caps are such a small portion of the bottle, they do not have any recyclable value. The caps should be removed from the bottles and thrown in the trash. She said when Rocky Mountain Recycling processes the materials, they will throw the caps away anyway.

Other Notes on Recycling

Foote pointed out that all materials should be cleaned out prior to going into the recycling bin, as they are seen as contaminated if they are not clean. Tin cans such as dog food cans or soup cans should be rinsed out thoroughly. If the paper on the outside of the can is removable, it is helpful to remove it, but it is not required to be recycled.

Additionally, as plastic bags are not recyclable, neither are trash bags. All recyclables should be placed directly into the bin with no trash bag.

Having no trash bag also helps the hopper cameras on the trucks to catch when a contamination occurs. The cameras record at every stop, ensuring that they spot when a non-recyclable item, such as a pizza box, has been placed in the recycling. Then Wyoming Waste is able to give that resident a notice so they can correct the behavior.

Councilman Berg questioned whether he would get blamed for his neighbor’s contamination, to which Foote assured the cameras allow them to see exactly which residence the contaminated items came from.

The cameras cannot, however, detect when an item is not properly cleaned out. That is found later.

Rate Increase

During her update, Foote notified the council that Wyoming Waste is looking to increase their rates for both curbside pickup services and the use of the transfer station.

In Wyoming Waste Systems’ contract with the City of Green River, it states they are allowed to use the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) to determine rate increases and decreases.

Foote said the CPI for All Urban Consumers from September 2018 to September 2019 increased a bit to be at 1.76 percent. This means they are looking to raise rates by 56 cents per month for residential customers, and $2.22 per month for small businesses.

They are wanting to implement these rate increases at the start of 2020.

These same rate increases would extend to the transfer station, increasing prices per ton from $69 to $70.24.

Commissioner Gary Killpack said he spoke to a friend who is in waste services in Utah, and was told that the City of Green River is being overcharged. Therefore, he said he would like to discuss the rate increases further at another time, as he is currently opposed to an increase.

This issue is expected to come before the council within the next few council meetings.

Decreasing Rates of Tonnage at the Transfer Station

Foote said that so far in 2019, the transfer station has been used by 1,969 residents. Of those residents, 350 have disposed 1,000 pounds or more of waste, and 96 have disposed of 1,800 pounds or more. The average amount taken to the transfer station per resident is 581 pounds.

The contract states that each resident within city limits gets 1,800 pounds at no charge. Wyoming Waste would like to lower this amount to 1,000 pounds per resident for 2020.

Foote explained they would like to lower their tonnage rate because the transfer station is not receiving the same amount as what the City of Green River received at the landfill.

“It is a revenue issue as far as being able to be more in line with how much we’re spending to operate at the transfer station,” Foote said.

With two full time employees, and to pay their bills such as water and electric, the revenue is not currently there.

City Resident Concerns

Nina Tyler, property manager at Mansface Terrace, said they have experienced “unreliable service” from Wyoming Waste.

Mansface Terrace provides low-income housing for senior citizens, and many of the residents have mobility issues. Therefore, they have a trash room on every floor, and the maintenance employees will take the trash from each floor to the containers outside.

Tyler said they call Wyoming Waste about three to five times each week, either because they have not been serviced, or to check to make sure they will be serviced. Each time, she is told that the truck is down, that they were already serviced, or that the pick up person has left for the day and that they will put in a work order for the following day.

This is an issue for Tyler because she is required to provide a safe and sanitary environment for her residents. She said that the outdoor containers are often overflowing due to unreliable pickups, and if the overflowing trash is ever reported, she could be issued a citation for not providing a sanitary environment.

“If it’s overflowing outside, that means it’s overflowing in the trash rooms, and that means it’s overflowing in the residents’ apartments,” Tyler said.

Tyler said she did speak with Mayor Rust last Monday about this issue, and that on Wednesday and Friday, Mansface Terrace received wonderful service. She hopes this will continue.

“I don’t believe that as low-income seniors that our folks are entitled to any additional special treatment other than what they’re eligible for, but I do believe they are entitled to the service that we do pay for and that we pay on time,” Tyler said.

Bettering Communication

Foote said to better their communication with the community and to increase the flow of information, Wyoming Waste has launched an app that the residents can download to their phones.

The app, Western Wyoming Waste Services, will prompt the resident to enter their home address, and then they will be able to receive collection reminders. According to Foote, this will also give notifications of holiday schedules.

The app can also be used to search how to properly dispose of materials.

On December 1, Wyoming Waste will also launch a Facebook page, which will allow them to give live updates.

Holiday Schedules

Foote notified the council of their holiday schedules for this Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.

Wyoming Waste will be closed for Thanksgiving, and will be open again the next day. Therefore, Thursday pick up will be collected on Friday, and Friday pickup will be collected on Saturday.

Wyoming Waste will be closed for Christmas and New Year’s, which both fall on Wednesdays this year. Once again, pick up will be delayed a day. Wednesday pick up will be collected Thursday, Thursday pick up on Friday, and Friday pick up on Saturday.

This information can also be found on their website, wyomingwaste.com.