SWD’s recycling program saving more than expected

CARROLLTON — The Solid Waste District’s decision to operate its recycling drop-off program instead of contracting for the service is saving more money than anticipated.

The SWD serves Columbiana, Carroll and Harrison counties, and SWD Director Barbara Walton reported at this month’s board meeting they are on track to save $120,000 since taking over the collection portion of the recycling program on Aug. 1 after the contract with Kimble Recycling & Disposal expired.

The board contracted with Kimble for the service but became upset when Kimble’s proposed new three-year contract called for its fee to increase from $384,000 to $571,000 in 2018 — a 53 percent increase. Walton estimated even with the SWD purchasing its own dumpsters, trucks and hiring drivers they would still save at least $69,000.

The collection program consists of 312 dumpsters located at 77 sites in the three counties where residents can drop of their recyclables, with 44 of those sites located in Columbiana County. The materials are collected and transported to recycling processing plants operated by Kimble and Ohio Valley Waste.

Walton said one reason for the increased savings is the decision to begin transporting all recyclables to Ohio Valley Waste’s site in Girard because Kimble charges the SWD the difference if it cannot earn $89 per ton. Ohio Valley does not charge any additional fees.

The board also awarded contracts to continue the following special drop-off recycling events in 2018: Stericycle for the annual household hazardous waste, Greenway Electronics for the electronics and Ohio Valley Waste for the tires. The events cost a combined $73,000, but a state grant is received to help offset some of the cost.

Walton said they are looking at doing something different in 2018 with the popular electronics drop-off event. Instead of allowing people to drive through and drop off their electronics on a first-come, first-served basis, she is contemplating requiring residents to make an appointment.

Walton said the event held in September at the Columbiana County Fairgrounds has almost become unmanageable because of the turnout. “We get 600 to 800 cars in three hours. It’s just become crazy,” she said.

The SWD this year gave Carroll County residents a set time to drop off their electronics and it worked smoothly, and Walton is contemplating taking the same scheduling approach in Columbiana County to alleviate the congestion.

The SWD board agreed to provide SWD employees with a 3 percent pay raise in 2018. Employees will also begin paying 5 percent of their monthly insurance premiums, which is expected to save $5,000 per year.