Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2007

City council hears recycling plan

December 6, 2007

Increased recycling in Baldwin City could be on the horizon if the city council goes along with a plan introduced by Roger Boyd at Monday's meeting.

Boyd, long-time Baldwin City resident and professor of biology at Baker University, outlined a recycling area located at the power plant that would have an estimated cost of $9,100 and would provide almost all the city's needs for recycling. Currently, there is a recycling bin at the Santa Fe Railroad Depot, but only a limited amount of items can be left there.

Besides that, residents can either throw everything away for a trip to the landfill or take their other recycling materials to Lawrence or Ottawa.

"That's it," said Boyd, who is also the recycling coordinator at Baker where 27.5 tons of recycled materials were gathered last year. "That's your options."

At the current recycling station, residents can only drop off newspaper, tin and a limited amount of plastic. Aluminum is recycled through the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society.

Under Boyd's plan, the new site would allow the recycling of:

1. All paper materials (newspaper, junk mail, magazines, office paper, chipboard)

2. Corrugated cardboard

3. Mixed colors of glass

4. Mixed plastics (No. 1-7, six-pack rings, bags, etc.)

5. Aluminum

6. Tin cans

7. Scrap metal items, including appliances

What couldn't be recycled would be Styrofoam, lumber and yard wastes, he said.

Boyd was asked what the other differences would be from the current recycling area which is provided by Ottawa Sanitation.

"The main thing is that bin is always full," said Boyd.

Boyd's plan calls for city employees to monitor the area and move full bins into a truck to be hauled away. The estimated cost of $9,100 includes dirt work, culverts, 575 feet of fence, a sorting shed, a temporary dock, gravel drive and signage. The area would be at the north end of the power plant area on Orange Street.

The council was receptive to the idea, for the most part.

"I don't think there's any question that there isn't demand for this," said Council Member Tony Brown. "I think people are anxious for something like this.

"I think this is really a proactive stance that we can take as a community for the environment," said Brown. "I think it will take off."

Boyd added that the paper recycling alone is huge.

"Last year we did 22 Tons of paper and I'd guess only 25-30 percent of that, about 5 or 6 tons, of it was newspaper," said Boyd, noting that the massive amounts of junk mail people receive makes up the bulk of the rest, along with magazines.

"I think it's a good idea," said Mayor Gary Walbridge. "Will it cost us? Yes."

Council Member Ted Brecheisen Jr. asked about Boyd's estimates and thinks it will cost more. As a member of the utility committee, he wants to take a closer look.

"I would like to take it to committee," said Brecheisen.

Council Member Ken Wagner was all for the idea, but also wondered about the cost.

"I can't imagine the city doing anything for $9,100," said Wagner. "It's an intriguing deal. I don't know where it came from, but I appreciate you putting it together."

The council also heard from George McCrary of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission for the first time since long-time director Monte Ezell left the position.

"Since Oct. 17, I've been interim director," said McCrary. "We're in the process of interviewing for that position."

He said there were 27 applicants and seven were brought in for interviews. Their years of experience varied from 6 to 29.

"We've got a pool of candidates," he said. "We're looking at moving forward and having someone in place at the first of the year."

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