The Bonne Terre City Council recently opted to suspend recycling services after they received word the company they were using for single stream recycling went out of business.
Bonne Terre City Administrator Shawn Kay said on Friday he had an opportunity to attend a meeting of the St. Francois County Environmental Corporation Board and they notified them that as of Oct. 31 they will no longer be accepting single stream recycling, which are items that don’t have to be sorted.
“This is because the company they were contracted with to take the single stream recycling is no longer taking it and as a matter of fact, they are no longer in business,” Kay said. “The other companies they have contacted will not take single stream recycling”
Kay explained that single stream means they are able to take a whole tote of plastic, cardboard, or paper and dump into the back of the truck and then they would sort it at their location. He said his recommendation to the council at this time, unless something changes, would be to suspend the recycling program.
“There will be some additional costs, because the fees to get rid of your recycling is going to be higher and I would anticipate that most people are going to just put it in their trash,” Kay said. “But it will be offset by the savings in the fuel for not running the truck over the same route twice a week.”
Kay said he would like to protect the environment as much as anyone, but they are talking about dollars and cents and unless they want to hand pick and sort it themselves, they really have no other option.
Alderwoman Andrea Richardson added even if they said they would only take paper, they would have to sort it themselves to make sure there is nothing else in there.
Kay said there is only a market for cardboard and the only way they could take cardboard is if they hand sort it and pull the paper out because it is processed differently.
“They will inspect the first three loads, so if you take a load over there that has anything in it they won’t take it,” Kay said. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news…”
Richardson asked if that was the rumor that was all over social media, that the landfill won’t take plastic anymore.
Kay said it was and they had been trying to find another company that would take the single stream recycling. He added there is another company who will take it, but it costs $90 a ton to get rid of it and instead of them being able to make a little bit of profit on it, to save the environment now they are going to have to pay to get rid of it.
“It would not be cost effective for us to do that,” Kay said. “So with your permission or blessing, we will suspend the recycling program at the end of October unless we are presented with another option.”
Alderman Eric Schonhardt asked if they would collect the bins or if the residents would just keep them.
Richardson explained that last time they did this the city came through and collected all of the bins. Then when they got back into recycling they gave out the bins again.
Kay said they really don’t need to collect them and anyone who has a bin can just keep it them. He added they have spent $4,000 this year on dump fees for recyclables.
The council approved suspending recycling until further notice. He said other cities who may also suspend their recycling programs include Desloge, Park Hills and Fredericktown.
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or email@example.com