October 10, 2012


Casella revises recycling bid

Legislature to vote on company taking over recycling operations

CasellaBob Ellis/staff photographer
A worker stacks bales of crushed cans at the Cortland County Recycling Center in this photo from November 2011. Casella Waste Systems would run the recycling center for $124,000 annually under a revised proposal the county’s Solid Waste Committee accepted on Tuesday.

Staff Reporter

The Cortland County Solid Waste Committee endorsed a bid Tuesday from Casella Waste Systems to take over the recycling center at an annual cost of about $124,000.
The full Legislature will vote on the proposal at the Oct. 25 session.
Legislators favoring the proposal cited the advantages of going to single-stream recycling, saying that is the future of recycling. Single-stream recycling eliminates the need to sort and separate recyclable materials. Legislators also hope that the move will increase the annual tonnage of recyclables to about 4,000, about a 20 percent increase over what the center currently draws in.
The proposal actually costs the county more than it is slated to lose under the JM Murray center, which took over operations at the beginning of the year.
Legislator Kathie Arnold (D-Cuyler, Solon and Truxton), who voted against accepting the proposal, said she did so because in the short-term it will cost the county about $40,000 more than staying with the J.M. Murray Center.
Arnold said that next year the county estimates receiving about $225,000 in revenue and spending about $275,000 on operating costs through the J.M. Murray Center, a loss of about $50,000.
The Casella proposal estimates $46,000 in revenue but with the $124,000 yearly leasing costs and the county still paying utilities, Arnold said it is more costly to the county.
But Legislature Chairman Mike Park (R-Homer) pointed to the benefits of not having the maintenance costs for equipment associated with sorting. He said going to single stream avoids having to set aside $100,000 yearly to pay for replacing things like the conveyer and baler at the recycling center since they will not have to be used anymore.
In August, legislators put off accepting a proposal from Casella to take over the Recycling Center at an annual cost of about $162,000. Casella dropped the price, estimating that it would increase the tonnage of recyclables received by appealing to businesses and decrease the hours of operation to cut overhead costs.
Casella Market Area Manager Bob Formeck explained at the meeting that by switching to single-stream recycling and having earlier hours of operation, they will increase the amount of recyclables.
“We want to get to 4,000 tons a year and build on that,” Formeck said.
Legislator John Troy (D-1st Ward) said the idea is a good move and a step toward the future. He said it makes sense to eliminate the cost of maintaining and repairing sorting equipment.
The trend is toward single-stream recycling, he said.
SUNY Cortland is going to single-stream in 2013, he said, and since the county does not collect single-stream materials, the college would have to go to facilities outside the county.
“I’m afraid if we continue to stay dual-stream, our volume will drop more as more industries and places go to the single-stream,” Troy said.
Ernie Dodge, who oversees the J.M. Murray Center, was not available for comment by press time.


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