Here’s a quick guide on the city’s new recycling arrangements:
Q: Can I still go to either recycling site? Will it cost me anything to get rid of plastic and paper products?
A: Both recycling sites remain open and never closed. There’s no charge to properly dispose of recycled materials.
Q: What’s different about the sites?
A: The most noticeable physical change involves the bins. Previously, there were two or three larger bins at each site. Each site now has six smaller bins. The six smaller bins can contain more materials, or have a larger overall capacity, than the three larger bins combined.
Q: Why did Sandusky alter its recycling operations?
A: In short, to save about $65,000 a year from the government’s cashstrapped budget.
City residents spent a total of $131,000 in 2012 and 2013 to fund recycling operations. The expense occurred from commissioners paying companies to haul materials away from these sites.
Entering this year, however, commissioners slashed about $1.1 million from the city’s $16.3 million everyday operating budget.
Facing future fiscal challenges, commissioners examined each public service they supervise in hopes of cutting more expenses.
To ease the financial burden, commissioners negotiated and later signed a deal with Fultz, in which he vowed to not charge the city to pick up recycled materials. The deal included city officials covering a one-time expenses of about $24,000 to purchase a dozen bins, six at each site.
Effectively, city officials ended their public responsibility to fund recycling services — averaging out to $65,000 a year — while still ensuring their constituents, or city residents, can properly dispose of their recycled materials.
Q: Why would FSI Disposal pick up this material at no charge to city residents?
A: Fultz, who provides a similar service for Margaretta Township, wants his volume-driven company to process as many products from recycling as possible so he can increase his profits. Sandusky officials also made sure that, upon signing the deal, Fultz wouldn’t tack on an additional cost for city residents to recycle.
Q: It always seemed like both recycling centers were always messy with materials everywhere but inside the bins. Will this keep occurring?
A: Ideally not. Fultz vowed to clean and empty the bins at least once a week. He could ramp up these efforts if more recycled materials find their way at these sites. A messy situation played out this past weekend during Easter, with the bins filled and recyclable products littering the ground.
Company haulers, however, solved the issue by Tuesday, completely clearing both sites.
“The overflow at both sites over this past holiday weekend is an encouraging situation” commissioner Dick Brady said. “FSI responded immediately to the call regarding the overflow at both sites. Personally, I am hopeful that this is an indication that the volume we are seeing will dictate that we need more containers, and perhaps we need additional sites. To recycle, we have to make it easy for our residents and cost effective for our community”
Q: Are city officials targeting people who dump illegal materials at these site?
A: Yes they are.
“We are seeing non-recycled materials dropped off at these locations as well” Brady said. “Furniture, clothing and everyday trash. With the help of our provider, we will deal with this inconvenience as well. Technology has an answer for controlling this by the use of on-site cameras. We will not allow a few illegal dumpers to ruin a program that benefits so many”
Q: Have or would city officials consider removing the recycling sites?
A: Officials did contemplate removing the recycling bins altogether, but state law requires public entities to provide ample opportunities for people to recycle. The recycling centers satisfy this requirement.
Q: Are city officials still considering a one-hauler system?
A: Not at this time.
Several hauling companies pick up trash throughout Sandusky.
When city commissioners discussed the idea earlier this year, local haulers and city residents lashed out against an Erie Countyspurred plan calling for only one hauler to pick up trash, recyclables and other materials in Sandusky. They feared a one-hauler system would put everyone else out of business. Some city commissioners also opposed the plan.
Erie County officials contended the plan would save city residents big bucks. Theoretically, an average person’s garbage bill would drop from $66 a quarter to $35 a quarter.