Carbon County municipalities affected by the closing of the blue bin recycling program are weighing their options.
During a special meeting of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee on Wednesday morning, representatives from a number of municipalities in the county listened to what four recycling haulers have to offer. Presenting were representatives from Berger Sanitation Inc., Waste Management, Kreitzer Sanitation, and Solomon Container Services.
Each company said that they could provide single stream recycling and compacting. Some also could provide electronics recycling, and dual stream or curbside recycling.
Duane Dellecker, director of the Solid Waste program in Carbon County until Friday, said that the county is required to have alternatives to the blue bin program in place before the waste management plan can be approved.
He then asked if decisions have been made with regards to what each municipality plans to do for a recycling program, if any. Many representatives said their boards were in discussions but no real decisions have been made to date. Some of the smaller municipalities said they would be open for a regional recycling program that partnered with neighboring towns since hosting a program on their own wouldn't be possible.
A list of the municipalities that were served by the blue bin program was given to each hauler so further discussions could take place about costs and services that could be provided at a future time.
In addition, a number of questions were raised by the municipalities; as well as the haulers regarding the current tipping fees charged per ton, if the closing of the county recycling program was approved by the state; and what will happen to the blue bins and vehicles from the program.
The commissioners, who attended the meeting, provided some answers, as well as raised other questions.
In regards to the tipping fees, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein said that the matter has not been discussed and no decision has been reached to date.
As for what will happen to the blue bins and vehicles, Nothstein and Commissioners Thomas J. Gerhard and William O'Gurek said that they must follow the county code and has voted to advertise for the sale of the bins via bid.
Jesse Mendez of Lower Towamensing Township asked if the county could give the bins to the municipalities.
O'Gurek said that it may be a possibility if no bids for the bins are received, but without the vehicles to dump the bins, the municipality would have no way to dump the bins for recycling.
The need to find new recycling haulers in 14 municipalities in Carbon County came earlier this year after the board of commissioners voted to end the blue bin recycling program.
The reason for the closure was due to it costing the county over $100,000 annually and receiving little help from the state or federal governments.
The commissioners, after much discussion, regrettably voted to end the program on Feb. 28.