County approves spending nearly $800K for bigger recycling carts

Provided photo courtesy of Modern Disposal: Modern Disposal will be transitioning to 96-gallon garbage totes for Orleans County this year, with a goal to have them in place by July 1.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2019 at 7:52 am

ALBION – Bigger recycling carts are headed to Orleans County. The County Legislature on Wednesday approved spending $776,500 for 15,444 recycling carts.

The new carts, at $50.28 each, will hold 96 gallons. The county is leasing them from Rehrig Pacific Company of Erie, Pa.

The county will make a $400,000 down payment on the recycling carts, and will then make three annual payments of $134,720. The state is expected to pay half of the costs for the new recycling totes. Residents won’t be directly billed for the new recycling containers.

Photo by Tom Rivers: The smaller recycling bins will be replaced by much larger totes this year.

The switch to the larger carts will make it easier for Modern Disposal to pick up recycling, and should hold off increases in the costs for picking up garbage and recycling for the next few years, county officials said.

The new totes are expected to be in place by July 1. The county and Modern will have public information meetings before July to prepare residents for the change.

County Legislator Ken DeRoller, R-Kendall, said the county’s recycling rate is currently only 20 percent. That is a low number and he wants to see it go up. Part of the education effort will be encouraging residents to recycle more plastic, paper and metal materials.

Residents currently use recycling bins that are emptied weekly by Modern. The company has two employees per truck, with a driver and another employee grabbing and emptying the bins. It takes about a minute for each stop in the county.

The 96-gallon totes will have covers. Those totes can be grabbed by a mechanical arm, lifted up and emptied into the recycling truck.

Fred Miller, D-Albion, was the only legislator to oppose the agreement for the new recycling carts on Wednesday. Miller thinks the bigger size will be “cumbersome” for many residents. He wanted to look at some other options.

The change to the bigger carts will allow Modern to staff each recycling truck with one employee. The company can also speed up the collection effort, spending an every of 12 seconds per stop. The company will pick up the recycling every two weeks, instead of weekly, once the totes are in place.

“We’re saving the county substantial money,” DeRoller said about the bigger recycling totes.

Residents in 2018 paid $212 for annual garbage and recycling collection. The cost will stay about that price for the next few years with the recycling change, said Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer.

Without the change, the county would have faced a 10 to 15 percent increase, he said. The County Legislature in October approved a new five-year contract with Modern for garbage and recycling collection. The annual cost is $3,001,495 with the current system of weekly recycling, but drops to $2,707,160 when the new system is fully phased in with the larger recycling totes.

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