Mount Airy officials have taken action to ensure that materials collected through the city’s curbside recycling program will continue to be disposed of at no cost to taxpayers.
The city Board of Commissioners voted during a meeting in late June to extend an agreement with Foothills Sanitation and Recycling of North Wilkesboro, which receives single-stream recyclables generated by the program operating in Mount Airy.
When the city launched its curbside operation in January 2012, Sonoco Recycling Inc. was contracted to pick up the materials on a guaranteed no-cost basis. That was a key planning consideration as the effort got under way, since it was requiring the municipality to undertake major capital expenditures such as a recycling truck and the blue containers used by city residents.
However, when the three-year agreement with Sonoco came up for renewal in December 2014, that company no longer could offer Mount Airy the deal under which the municipality would never have to pay for the materials’ disposal.
This led to the initial, 3.5-year contract with Foothills Sanitation and Recycling, which expired last Saturday. In addition to its no-cost guarantee for material pickups, the company received items not accepted earlier, such as pizza boxes, aluminum foil and children’s toys.
“We have had a good experience with Foothills during the last 3.5 years,” city Public Works Director Jeff Boyles observed in a memo ahead of the commissioners’ vote in which he recommended the contract extension. “Owners Jeff and Janet Miller have been very cooperative and have exceeded our expectations.”
Boyles says “they continue to offer the best deal for the city,” based on checks with their competitors.
The new contract is for five years.
Under its terms, Mount Airy is being paid 25 percent of the weighted average market price for the recycled materials unless it falls below $60 per ton.
Pleased with program
Boyles is satisfied with where Mount Airy is with its curbside recycling effort overall.
“The program was originally expected to collect about 480 tons a year, but it now is over 600 tons a year,” he pointed out earlier this week.
“There is more participation from the households as shown by our set-out rate that is now over 55 percent regularly, which translates to about a 75-percent participation rate,” Boyles added. This takes into account that not everyone sets out his/her cart every week.
“In addition, over the years we have enhanced recycling by offering it downtown, at Reeves Community Center (RCC) and the parks and in the schools,” Boyles mentioned.
“We consider the program to be a great success and are pleased to continue our partnership with Foothills Sanitation and Recycling.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.