Where does it go?
UPRSWDD talks possible alternatives for recyclable materials at Saratoga Transfer Station
November 20, 2019
The future of recycling continued to be a point of discussion for the Upper Platte River Solid Waste Disposal District (UPRSWDD) during their Nov. 6 meeting. As the rest of the United States struggles with how to deal with recyclables that are no longer accepted by China under it’s 2018 “National Sword” policy, so to does the UPRSWDD.
The discussion on recycling came up as Ron Munson, owner of Evergreen Disposal and site manager for the URPSWDD, gave the board his monthly site reports. In recent months, Munson has informed the district that he has been looking for places to take baled cardboard. Following his site reports, Munson was asked by UPRSWDD member Leroy Stephenson what he was doing with the recycling.
“I was scheduled twice to go into Fort Collins. It takes me a week, 10 days, to get an appointment from these guys. The road was closed both times,” said Munson.
When Stephenson asked if Munson would be taking newspapers, magazines and white office paper to Fort Collins as well, Munson replied that it was just the cardboard.
“So what are you doing with the rest of it?” asked UPRSWDD Chairman Randy Raymer.
“Stacking up,” Munson replied.
UPRSWDD Sue Jones suggested the district contact InterWest Paper out of Salt Lake City, Utah. According to Munson, while he had received calls from InterWest Paper in the past, he had been informed that the ramp currently in place at the Saratoga Transfer Station was inadequate to park a trailer to fill with recycling.
Discussion began over whether to haul the outgoing recycling to Rawlins where it could be picked up by InterWest or to build a loading dock that would fit the needs of the Salt Lake City-based company. Another idea, posed by Craig Kopasz of Engineering Associates, was to bury the inert waste, such as plastic and glass, with a tarp over it and remove it from the ground when the market rebounded.
“I don’t really see the market ever improving to the point where plastics is going to be worth going in and digging up and loading on a trailer to take someplace,” replied Stephenson.
Currently, according to recent prices released by InterWest Paper, the cost of loose glass is $100 a ton, the cost of mixed rigid plastics is $60 a ton and the cost of baled cardboard is $30 a ton. However, due to the amount of cardboard produced within the district, it is the only one of the three recyclables being shipped out.
Stephenson asked Raymer if it was allowable for the UPRSWDD to bury cardboard in the construction/demolition pit along with the glass and plastic. Raymer stated that it was legal for the district to do so, but it would then discourage companies who are currently diverting it from their municipal solid waste stream.
“If we were to start burying cardboard, let’s just take my company for instance, why would I bother to sort it out of my waste stream? I’m going to send it on the garbage truck that’s going to go to Laramie,” said Raymer.
Raymer projected that, with a load of cardboard being approximately 30 tons and Laramie landfill being charged $150 a ton, it would cost the UPRSWDD $4,500 if cardboard were placed in the municipal solid waste stream.
“We can send it to Salt Lake for less than $4,500,” concluded Raymer.
It would appear that the problem facing the district, should it decide to begin shipping cardboard to Salt Lake City, is how to get it there. While there were suggestions to partner with Rawlins or develop an alternative loading dock for InterWest Paper, it was stated by Susan Munson that Ron Munson could not legally get the recyclables to Salt Lake City in one day and remain under the allowable hours for semi-trucks.
UPRSWDD member Schelby Merrill, who has been a proponent for educating the public on recycling, added that there should also be education on the possible cost increase should cardboard be placed in the municipal solid waste stream.
Additionally, Raymer pointed out that Munson’s contract was up for renewal before the next fiscal year. It is likely Munson could increase his rate due to the difficulty in removing recyclables from the district. While there were no definitive answers on how to deal with the increasing amount of recyclables in the district, it appears that it is a discussion that will continue in the near future.
The next meeting of the UPRSWDD will be at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4 at Saratoga Town Hall.