Make the McKenzie Connection!

Dump prices to go up, while hours open go down

Renee JacksonEUGENE: “I’ve talked to our customers and they’re willing to pay for recycling in order not to have the dumps close,” McKenzie Disposal employee Renee Jackson told the Lane County Board of Commissioners  last Wednesday. She also encouraged the board to look closer at the costs of recycling, which currently is offered as a discount.

Up for discussion was a plan that included the possible closure of eight of the county’s 16 waste transfer stations. On that list was the McKenzie Bridge site.

Currently, people who haul their own trash can get a $1 discount for recycling things like glass, cardboard or metal. Jackson felt estimates on the amount the county could gain by eliminating the discount could be off.  Although 148 people got the discount at the McKenzie Bridge site in June, she noted there are no records to show how many people went to there to simply drop off their recyclables. She told the board they needed to “generate funds because there is a cost” to the recycling process.

While not on a list of recommendations later approved by a unanimous vote the recycling issue did generate more discussions.

William Shoen, with the R3 Consulting Group that wrote the initial report explained why commercial haulers should take trash to the Short Mountain Landfill rather than dropping it off at the Glenwood transfer station. That action, he said in a phone hookup to the meeting, would change Glenwood from a “transfer station to a recovery facility.” He recommended restricting Glenwood to loads from self-haulers with a pickup truck and commercial hauler’s uncompacted loads would allow the county to focus on recovering materials from the waste stream.

The way things are done today, Shoen  said, don’t pencil out. “The cost to dump it on the floor, handle it, transfer it and send it down to the landfill doesn’t offset the savings in the collection costs,” Shoen said.

Under the proposal that was approved by a unanimous vote, people who haul their own debris to the dump can expect to pay more and some will have to schedule tighter. Getting the nod was an increase from $10 to $12 per cubic yard of garbage. In addition, the McKenzie Bridge and Swisshome transfer sites will become “Saturday only” operations. They and five rural sites will remain open but the Mapleton dump will be closed.

Other details of the plan include increases for larger loads as well as upping the fees for getting rid of demolition material. All combined those actions are projected to bring in an additional $410,000 per year.

The changes approved by the board last week are expected to go into effect by July. In the meantime Shoen said a process for long ranging planning will begin very soon. “It has a pretty significant stakeholder involvement attached to it,” he said. “We’ll be receiving input from the public, the haulers and interested stakeholders in terms of what cutting edge or other options are available to implement.”

Shoen added that, “At this point you’re doing many things right. But the Glenwood and landfill aren’t designed to recover materials. That’s the biggest missing piece - the ability to more effectively recover materials from the waste stream.”

Springfield Commissioner Sid Leiken was interested in learning more about the technology that may be available. “Basically we’re hauling garbage the same as we’ve hauled it for a long time,” Leiken said. “Frankly, if you’re talking about a 100 year capacity this is a great opportunity for this board to really deal with waste in the future - not just right now but how does it look in 10 or 20 years from now, when God hope, I’m not serving on this board.”

Shoen said there were two basic approaches to consider - pre-sorting (like curbside recycling or yard waste programs) or recovering materials from mixed waste after it been picked up as garbage. “Glenwood would have to be much more aggressive,” he added.

The stakeholder meetings are planned for September 19th - 21st, although times and locations haven’t yet been firmed up. Likely to be on the agenda will be ways of meeting the Waste Management’s goal of increasing the waste conversion rate from the current 55% to a 63% rate by 2025.

Photo via webcast. Renee Jackson supported recycling efforts in her testimony to the county commissioners last Wednesday.


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