South Orange to Evaluate Bids for Single-Stream Recycling
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 • 9:12am
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – South Orange is considering changing its recycling process from source-separated to single-stream recycling this spring.
The current program requires residents and businesses to separate recyclables into various bins that are picked up once a month. For single-stream recycling, materials would be picked up in a single toter every two weeks.
According to Michael Goldberg, village trustee, a single-stream program has been talked about for a while. The village issued a request for proposals, and the responses are being reviewed. A decision will be made within a month or two, he said.
Village officials hope a single-stream program will lead to more recycling.
“The theory is that it would increase participation in recycling,” Goldberg said. “Obviously, if you make it easier for people, it will make it more likely that they’ll participate, which is a positive thing for the environment.”
There are a few reasons why the town has not launched single-stream recycling before now, but the cost of the program seems to be the major consideration.
“It’s a financial decision,” Goldberg said. “It might be more convenient, but it’s going to cost more money. That’s something that has to be considered.”
If the town cannot make money on recycled materials, it could lead to a tax increase, Goldberg said. However, the town is analyzing if single-stream recycling will economically benefit the residents.
Because recycling would be picked up more frequently, cost is a factor.
“We have to make sure that the cost doesn’t increase, that the cost is equal, if not less, than what we’re paying,” Goldberg said.
Another factor taken into consideration was if the toters residents and business currently use for recycling could be used for single-stream recycling. In the current program, there are multiple toters for the different materials. However, for the new program, residents and businesses would use one recycling bin for all their recyclables, from plastic to cardboard.
Goldberg said: “One thing that was important when we put the RFP together was that we wanted to make sure people could use the existing toters. We wanted to make sure people are not required to go out and buy a new toter, because that would dissuade people from participating. We were really clear that was not a negotiable.”
Several steps are required before a final decision on single-stream recycling. Goldberg said the bids will be discussed at an upcoming Public Works Committee meeting. The committee’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees and if the board approves, a resolution would be passed to award a contract.
Goldberg said he thinks the program is an improvement over the current recycling program. He said, “I think the potential is certainly there to make the recycling easier, more convenient and more environmentally friendly for people, and we can provide the same or better service.”
Even if single-stream recycling is implemented, residents can still bring their recyclable materials to the Department of Public Work’s Recycling Depot at 300 Walton Ave.
Patrice Kubik is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.