Wednesday, January 11, 2017

To Wilmington City Council 1.5.17

I rise to help, not fight, city hall.
Doing good is a noble activity but sometimes doing good can be very costly. Taking a bin of recyclables to Hillsboro for example.
If we can do good and create revenue that is a double winner.
Such is the case for cardboard recycling. We do good by saving valuable landfill space, saving finite natural resources while turning a small profit.
We started the city cardboard project with some fanfare but progress has been well below potential and expected growth for reasons that are not clear to me.
I have asked the following relevant questions of the administration, the sanitation superintendent and the solid waste committee chair and to date have received only partial replies or no replies at all.
a. Why is the individual cardboard drop off point at the landfill almost impossible for the casual user to access when an easy option is available ?
b. Following the success of the city building parking lot cardboard dumpster why has an equally lucrative and tested location at the court house lot being ignored.
c. In September we sold 25 tons of cardboard to a poorly equipped buyer from Lebanon for $55 per ton. During that same month a Cincinnati based buyer was driving all the way to Wright Patterson and paying $100 per ton. Why did this happen when the landfill office was aware of the difference?
d. Last summer I was informed that an unnamed company would pay $55 per ton and do all the baling. I have been unable to confirm that offer so I doubt its validity.
e. I have been repeatedly advised that keeping commercial material out of the landfill would cause a $26 per ton loss in landfill revenue. This calculation is inaccurate in several ways. 1St for every ton tipped the landfill has to pay approximately $20 in fees and airspace value. 2Nd There is no loss in revenue from residential contributed material. 3Rd Even at $50 per ton the result is profit and good deeds.
f. If we are to get serious about retrieving the hundreds of tons of material now going into the landfill we need to upgrade our baling system and figure out labor and collection costs.
g. We are, in effect, doing the county solid waste department's work for them and they could easily afford $35 to $40 thousand for a good used horizontal high capacity baler from their $600,000 and growing slush fund.

Other than a suggestion for the city to apply for a baler grant that as far as I know has not been applied for. Talks with the county solid waste director have not been productive. It's time to talk with his county commissioner bosses.
Paul Hunter

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