Recycling

The local residential recycling program will continue for another year, but glass won't be accepted after Sept. 28.

COLUMBUS — Columbus residents who recycle glass will want to make a trip to Shred Monster within the next couple of months.

The material won’t be accepted through the local residential recycling program after Sept. 28.

Columbus City Council members voted unanimously Monday night to extend the program for another year, but they removed glass to shave some costs from the contract.

The city will pay Shred Monster $60,000 to continue accepting plastic, cardboard, paper, newspaper and aluminum, tin and steel cans through September 2018.

Eliminating glass from the program, which lowered the contract amount by $6,000, was recommended last month by council members who don’t believe the amount of material recycled justifies the cost.

“I just don’t think the glass portion is being used enough to warrant the bill that we’re getting for it,” Councilman Troy Hiemer said during the July 17 meeting.

According to city figures, glass products make up just 6 percent of the materials processed through the residential recycling program. Only glass bottles and jars are accepted.

Shred Monster, a large-scale commercial and industrial recycling and document-shredding business, started accepting residential recycling after the city-run recycling facility closed in 2012.

When resale prices dipped, the business requested an annual payment from the city so it didn’t lose money on the service offered at no cost for residents. Glass was added to the one-year contract approved by the city council in September 2016.

There was little discussion on the recycling contract Monday night and nobody from the public spoke for or against the program during the past three meetings when it appeared as an agenda item.

Mayor Jim Bulkley and some city council members have previously said recycling numbers will need to pick up to justify the expense after the next fiscal year.

City Councilman Prent Roth said last month he likely won’t vote to extend the agreement with Shred Monster beyond September 2018.

Shred Monster is on pace to take in 1,187 tons of residential recycling during the contract year, according to city figures. That’s more than double the 542 tons the business processed during the year prior and well above the approximately 600 tons the city-run recycling facility handled annually.

Still, it’s a relatively small amount compared to the roughly 19,400 tons of garbage, not including yard waste and wood debris, that ends up at the city transfer station and eventually the Northeast Nebraska Solid Waste Coalition Landfill near Clarkson each year.

According to Public Works Director Greg McCaffery, the residential recycling program costs the city about $56 per ton, compared to $27 per ton, or $36,000 annually, to take the same amount of material from the transfer station to the landfill.

The cost difference is comparable to the annual deficit the city-run recycling facility operated at between 2005 and 2010, according to McCaffery.

However, shifting recycled materials back into the trash flow would increase the costs local garbage haulers pay at the transfer station, which could lead to rate increases for customers.

The new one-year contract does not change the hours residential recycling is accepted.

Shred Monster, located at 4930 Howard Blvd. just west of Cubby’s, offers the drop-off recycling from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to noon on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

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Editor

Tyler Ellyson is editor of The Columbus Telegram.

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