Photo by Kellen M. Quigley
Jerrod Blake (right) of Waste Management discusses what is and is not recyclable through Waste Management with Springville Village Trustee Nils Wikman. The village approved Tuesday the purchase of recycling totes for the village with assistance from DEC a grant.

By Kellen M. Quigley

For residents of the Village of Springville, a new receptacle specifically for recycling could soon be on the curbside at every house.

The Village Board of Trustees Tuesday approved the purchase of 65 gallon recycling totes for about $57,000 with help from a DEC grant to cover approximately half of the cost.

The balance of the remaining cost would be coming out of the 2019-20 general fund budget.

Administrator Liz Melock said recycling pickup with the totes would begin on June 1 with all recycling going in the tote and being picked up on a bi-weekly basis.

The board invited Jerrod Blake of Waste Management to address any concerns they village had about the recycling rules and answer any questions.

“Our focus has been on education,” he said. “Our website is a great resource. It talks about recycling, what’s good, what’s not, what should be in the totes and what shouldn’t be.”

Because recycling primarily stays stateside now with few overseas markets, Blake said those costs for hauling can affect the pickup companies.

“China’s market changed a couple years ago,” he said. “That has impacted everybody with recycling because they want 0.5 contaminant or less contamination rate, so that closed the door.”

Blake said he thinks the totes could encourage village residents to recycle more.

“We’re just trying to educate the best we can,” he added.

Reed Braman, president of Green Springville, addressed the board on the decision to purchase the recycling totes, saying getting people to recycle can be a challenge. He said with curbside pickup and decades of publicity efforts, recycling should be getting easier.

“Providing totes may not increase recycling, but it won’t decrease it,” he said. Braman said having a “detailed, descriptive list of items” the waste company will and won’t accept could help.

“It’s incumbent on them to help us help them,” he added.

Braman said whatever the village decides, there should contain a robust training and PR campaign to clearly spell out the rules for recycling.

Trust Nils Wikman brought a plastic garbage bag full of items that he was unsure could be recycled.

“Part of it is our fault because the village has a recycling guideline” with items that are acceptable but listed as not, he said. “We need to be clear on what you will recycle.”

In Wikman’s bag of items, nearly every one — such as various cardboards and plastics — would be accepted, Blake said. Ironically, the plastic bag all the items came in is not recyclable through Waste Management.

“We all agree that education is very important and maybe we can think of other ways to reach out to our residents,” said Mayor William Krebs. “But I think the carts are important, too. … Even if it may be a bit of a hassle to look at the guide for a while to figure out which items in the refuse stream should be recycled, we should take the time.”

Nils said the guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable changes regularly. He said some plastics are highly desired now. Blake said glass has almost no market at all.

“Our job is to get it there and let the industry decide where they’re going to ship it,” Krebs added.

Trustee Alan Chamberlin said he didn’t want to see the village only purchase the totes and say their job was done, but was encouraged by the discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.

“My concern was they’re going to open the lid, see a pizza box on top and just move on to the next house and leave it there,” Chamberlin said. “It doesn’t look like that’s what’s going to occur.”

He said as long as residents are getting their recycling to the curb, it’s up to the market to decide what’s acceptable and what’s not while the village is doing its part.

“I think it will help enable our community,” said Trustee Elise Rose. “It’s part of what we should do as good stewards of the earth, and what better way to do it than help our neighbors recycle?”