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City Considers Expanded Recycling Programs: Green Waste

Aug 10, 2015 09:26AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Scott Bartlett

Should things pencil out, Murray City may be adding some recycling programs next year.

The city’s contract for trash and recycling collection with Ace Recycling & Disposal is up at the end of this year, and city officials want to take the opportunity to re-evaluate which services they should provide.

Ace Recycling and Disposal collects solid waste throughout the majority of the city, almost everything west of 900 East. The remainder of the city falls within the Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District, a former Salt Lake County organization now overseen by local officials including Murray council member Jim Brass.

The bulk of the city’s solid waste is processed at the Trans-Jordan Landfill, located at 10473 South Bacchus Highway in South Jordan, which collects waste from seven cities, including Murray.

As is common practice when cities contract for services, Murray City will send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) by the end of this summer requesting pricing on various collection programs. Once all interested contractors submit their bid proposals, the city will evaluate which services will be included in the new contract.

“As we prepared this RFP, we decided to ask for a price on everything,” said Doug Hill, Murray City Public Services Director.

The city’s current collection consists of weekly black-can trash pickup, with green-can recycling pickup every other week. Additional cans for either pickup have been available for a fee to any resident needing them. The RFP will request pricing on providing weekly recycling pickup.

While the demand for regular trash pickup is clearly higher than it is for recycling, residents have also requested supplementary recycling capability. Per the draft RFP, there are approximately 7,800 regular trash cans in service alongside about 4,500 extra trash cans requested by residents. There are also about 7,800 recycling cans in service, with 50-100 additional recycling cans. About 12,000-14,000 tons of waste are hauled to the landfill annually, with about 1,800 tons of recycling taken to a recycling facility.

The RFP will request pricing on curbside yard waste collection, which is not currently offered in the city. Bidders will submit prices for a mandatory program (similar to the current recycling collection) and a voluntary program. Yard waste collection would mean a new can and associated truck routes. A minimum number of subscribers would be required for a voluntary program.

The city does not currently provide a curbside bulky waste program, and will request that bidders provide ideas and cost for such collection. Also new in the RFP is recycling within city parks.

City officials plan to continue several collection programs, including roll-off dumpsters that residents can rent for around $200 through the Public Works department. Also continued will be glass collection at two locations, as well as seasonal leaf bag and Christmas tree collection.

Dwayne Woolley, general manager of the Trans-Jordan Landfill, has provided some insight as the city decides which programs to pursue. He strongly suggests considering unintended consequences that will come from whatever decision the city makes, such as the extra emissions that would be created by trucks collecting yard waste.

The Trans-Jordan Landfill energy project currently produces energy for over 3,000 homes. This energy comes from methane, which is produced as organic matter decomposes. According to Woolley, diverting green waste from the landfill could reduce the amount of methane available for energy production.

On the flip side, diverting green waste from the landfill could increase the landfill’s lifespan, which Woolley estimates at 15 years.

West Jordan has done green waste recycling for about 15 years. Because residents typically don’t separate waste very well, Woolley employs two laborers to separate all green waste by hand. As much as 37 percent of that product then goes back to the landfill.

The landfill composts the green waste it already receives and then sells it countywide. Woolley says that selling a greater amount of green waste product may be problematic. The market is saturated, meaning that yard waste may end up in the landfill anyway, even after efforts to collect and process it separately.

Woolley says that the market for recycled green waste prefers what is referred to as “pure white stock,” with a much lesser price paid for mixed, lower-grade product.

“Currently, the cost to separate is more than the price of the commodity,” said Woolley.

All things considered, Woolley suggests not implementing a yard waste collection program. He is supportive of other programs in the RFP, especially the roll-off dumpsters which residents have made great use of.

Once the RFP is released and all bids are received, Hill and his staff will make a recommendation to the city council on what collection programs should be included in the upcoming contract. The council will then have to pass a resolution before a contract can be executed, which would run from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020

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