by Ivan Foley
The recycling service in Platte City, which is offered at no additional charge to its waste disposal customers, nets about $200 to $300 per month to the city in payment for recyclable material.
Platte City generates about 30,000 pounds of recyclable materials each month.
“This tonnage would otherwise go to the St. Joseph Landfill for disposal at $34 per ton cost to the city,” said DJ Gehrt, city administrator.
The benefit is that it diverts about 15 tons of material per year that the city would have to pay $34 per ton to dispose of if it weren’t for recycling, Gehrt explained.
“There’s about $10,000 per year of either revenue or diverting of costs for the city,” he added.
“Recycling is not a profit center, which is why it is essentially a government program. If it was a profitable business we would gladly give it to the private sector,” the city administrator remarked.
Recycling, Gehrt said, saves money “but it doesn’t save money for the people who do the collecting and the processing. Certain people along the way have to pay money up front. We (the city) are that person.”
Since the time the city began curbside recycling in the year 2000, the collected recyclable material has been hauled to Deffenbaugh Recycling for processing. The city was initially paid market pricing for sorted materials but when the city switched to a single-stream recycling (no sorting) in 2014, Deffenbaugh no longer paid for the material.
A firm by the name of Waste Management purchased Deffenbaugh Industries in the spring of 2015 and Waste Management began paying the city a minimal rate, currently at one cent per pound, for single stream material, according to a report given by Leonard Hendricks, public works director, to the city’s public works subcommittee Tuesday night.
“There are no good options for getting rid of recycling material,” Gehrt said.
Waste Management requires a service agreement on file with any account delivering material to its facility, and the city is in the process of completing the paperwork on a 36-month service agreement with the firm.
Under the agreement, Platte City will take all single-stream material to the Waste Management facility and Waste Management will pay the city market price value for that material.
Platte City’s recyclables are taken to the Waste Management transfer station in Edwardsville, Kan., in Wyandotte County.
“This is the closest and most convenient location for city access, as the other metro facility is located in Harrisonville,” said Leonard Hendricks, public works director for the city.
According to its web site, Waste Management is “a leading provider of comprehensive environmental solutions services in North America, serving more than 21 million customers in the U.S. and Canada.”
The company says it has the largest network of recycling facilities, transfer stations and landfills in the industry.