The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

August 2, 2013

Ashtabula County suspends recycling program

JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Solid Waste District is suspending the county’s drop-off recycling program effective Aug. 9.

County residents will also see limited service this weekend as a new contractor assumes servicing of the drop-off sites. Residents are being asked to avoid recycling at the drop-off sites this weekend, if at all possible, to help ease the transition, said Janice Switzer, of the SWD.

“We will be providing service this weekend, it just won’t be as regular,” she said. “Service will be available next week.”

The  district’s  contract  ended

Wednesday. The district notified the contractor that it intended to take an additional year; however, the contractor was unable to secure a hauler who could provide the service at the contract rate, Switzer said.

The SWD has been operating at a loss and changes to the drop-off program are essential to make the program more cost effective, Switzer said.

Waste Management will provide service to the drop-off sites on a temporary basis, but at a higher cost to the district.

“The district is unable to maintain the service at a higher cost for an extended period of time,” Switzer said.

Come Aug. 9, the program will be suspended and all containers will be removed from the drop-off sites, she said.

The county has 13 drop-off sites. Those sites are located in Andover; Austinburg Township; two Conneaut sites; Geneva; Harpersfield Township; Jefferson; Morgan Township; Orwell; Pierpont Township; Saybrook Township; Sheffield Township; and Windsor Township.

The county has encountered several issues with its current program including funding and meeting Ohio Environmental Protection Agency access requirements.

OEPA requires the district to provide access to recycling to 90 percent of the population. Under the current program, access is provided to about 60 percent of the population, Switzer said.

OEPA is writing a new recycling plan for the county that would change the drop-off containers from roll-off containers to front load Dumpsters. The new plan will also explore possible collaboration with nearby communities as well as work with Ashtabula City to create a recycling transfer station, she said.

The proposed new program will feature more sites and be more cost effective. It will be a consistent system throughout the county. The sites will feature 6-8 cubic yard front load containers, with multiple containers at high volume locations. The containers will be emptied regularly, Switzer said.

The current program costs $190 every time a load is hauled. In 2012, the total cost of the program was $283,288.26. This year, through the month of June, the program has cost $148,818.63, she said.

The new program is estimated to save the county $50,000 to $70,000 annually, while providing more opportunities to recycle, Switzer said.

The program will be suspended for at least four months while the district tries to get additional funding to start the new program.

“I don’t take this lightly,” Switzer said. “I know people have really gotten into this but it is a very costly program.”

During the program’s suspension, county residents can drop recycling materials off at the Ashtabula City Recycling Center, 501 W. 24th St., from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; Geneva City Recycling Center, 700 Austin Road, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily; and Waste Management Geneva Landfill, 2581 Tuttle Road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. The district anticipates Saturday hours to be added at the Ashtabula City Recycling Center soon.

Switzer said she is also exploring recycling sites in neighboring communities and will list them on the district’s website.

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