In addition to the environmental benefits, Denison City Manager Robert Hanna said the city’s new recycling program is about cost savings.
“It’s cheaper and we’d be foolish not to do it from a business standpoint,” he said.
The city’s residential recycling provider, Progressive Waste Solutions, began distributing recycling bins to houses this week and pick-up will begin on Feb. 4. The curb-side collection program is currently only available to residential customers.
The Denison City Council discussed the topic over several meetings at the end of last year, giving the plan final approval in November. City officials are already counting on some savings in the tipping fees it pays at the landfill near Whitesboro. The fees are the cost per ton that landfill users pay to dispose of solid waste there.
Those estimated savings have been figured into the rate residents pay for the new recycling service. The rate Denison is charging residents is $2 per month, but the city is paying Progressive Waste Solutions $2.90 per customer per month for the service.
“If we exceed our estimates, then we’ll be able to save more money and those rates and savings may be able to be passed on to the rate payer through reduced solid waste fees,” Hanna said.
However, the bigger savings for the city, and ultimately residents, comes from slowing the rate at which the landfill is filled. Denison, along with Sherman, Gainesville and Grayson and Cooke county, fund the on-going operating costs at the landfill, primarily the cost of opening new cells in the landfill when one is full.
“It costs several million dollars every time we open a new cell,” Hanna said, and “by not putting … recyclables into the landfill, we’re able to delay those expenses.”
Hanna pointed out that most items are recyclable. A pamphlet attached to the bins upon delivery explains what can and cannot be included. He said residents only need to put the items — paper, most plastics, glass and metal — into the bin, no need to sort. The residential collection will occur once every other week.
“If they (residents) just put that in the blue cart instead of their trash can, the theory goes we’ll be able to save a lot of money, and they will save a lot of money, because we won’t have to raise their solid waste bills to pay for the new cell construction,” Hanna said.
Cart delivery is expected to continue through Feb. 1. Hanna said, so far the city has received a number of calls from residents with concerns about the program.
For seniors concerned about pushing the 95-gallon cart, Hanna said, the city’s contract allows residents to use smaller carts, but Progressive Waste Solutions has asked to deliver all the carts first and then address those needs. There will also be an opportunity for customers to receive an additional bin for an extra monthly fee. Hanna said the city will also provide assistance to disabled residents as needed.
“Just be patient,” he said. “We can find a solution where we can address your needs.”