Weber County leaders OK trash-hauling deals, but without a recycling option | Government
OGDEN – Officials of the district Weber have concluded and approved contracts with two garbage transport companies, which regulate the garbage collection in residential areas in the unincorporated areas of the district.
But not before hearing from David Rawson, the operator of Recycled Earth, who wishes Weber County’s officials included a recycling option in their new offerings to lower the bills that household waste customers have to pay.
“People understand the importance of recycling. People care about recycling. The county shouldn’t get in the way of city options or individual options, ”Rawson told commissioners Tuesday prior to their vote on the matter. “Freight forwarders could and would have bid the price for recycling and provided that option, and the county (stood) in the way of that option.”
The Recycled Earth Recycling Center on Midland Drive in Ogden on June 5, 2018.
District officials announced plans early last month to sign contracts with private garbage trucks to lower and stabilize the price the public pays for roadside garbage service. Although cities typically negotiate similar garbage truck deals for urban homeowners, those living in the unincorporated areas of Weber County have had to make their own arrangements and face a variety of fees. Sean Wilkinson, director of the county’s community and economic development department, estimates customer bills will be cut in half on average when he contracts with Republic Services for service in the Uintah Highlands and western Weber Counties and waste management for completes the service in the Ogden Valley.
Customers can continue to pay for recycling services privately or bring recyclable materials to facilities like Recycled Earth themselves. But the county could possibly have negotiated a better fee than it otherwise could, argues Rawson, and many couldn’t go to the trouble of recycling themselves. That means more items that could otherwise be reused in other ways are going to landfill, he worries, and his company, which is under increased pressure when the recycling industry falters, is losing potential business.
“I think the county misses the boat in terms of what we as a society need to do to encourage recycling,” Rawson said. His company, he said, has 30 employees.
The commissioners voted 2-0 on Tuesday to approve the deal with Republic Services. Commissioner Scott Jenkins abstained because his son works for the company. Jenkins said he had kept himself from voting on the matter the entire time, given the conflict of interest. The commissioners voted 3-0 to approve waste management.
Jenkins and Commissioner Gage Froerer said just because the original contracts didn’t have a recycling option doesn’t mean future deals won’t. When Plain City, where Jenkins lives, first signed a garbage disposal contract, the deal didn’t include a recycling option, but the city later added one.
Froerer said after the meeting on Tuesday that officials had discussed the possibility of including recycling in garbage transport contracts. But as it is, relatively few unincorporated Weber County’s customers receive a recycling service. The inclusion of the option may have increased fees for customers.
“It wasn’t realistic for the amount of people who are currently recycling,” he said.
The new service is scheduled to start on April 1st.