By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.
From 2008 through 2013, the amount of recyclables put out for pickup has climbed from 419 tons a year to 1,059, and yard waste from 120 tons to 797.
Meanwhile, the amount of garbage has fallen from 4,858 tons to 4,117.
“Those numbers are very positive,” Commissioner Tim Ruffo said Thursday.
With the contract ending July 31 and the bidding process about to begin for a new pact, the specifications for the new pact will look largely like those in the current one.
“We would like to keep the core contract intact, emphasize recycling and yard waste to reduce the material that goes into landfills,” City Manager Gary P. Hinkson said.
However, there have been some changes outside the city’s control that officials would like to address; most notably, the prohibition on televisions, computers and other electronic components in garbage.
“It’s hard to get rid of them,” said Assistant Director of Planning and Development Jeremy P. Coxe. “You can’t get rid of them at the curb anymore.”
Sure, Hinkson said, residents can take many of those items to Staples, Goodwill or Best Buy, but officials want to provide an even easier alternative – dropping them off at the city garage.
The city already has an arrangement with current contractor Tri-County Industries, Pine Township, to place roll-off containers at the garage for tires and appliances. Under the new deal, a roll-off for electronics would be added.
Officials also want potentially to reduce the cost for residents who put out little garbage. Very-low users will not have to get a cart for garbage and could instead put out bags at a cost of 95 cents each, down from $4 a bag. They still would have to pay the base fee that covers recycling and yard waste disposal.
The city would continue with the 40-percent discount for low-income households that earn $19,050 a year or less.
Other changes in the specs:
• The number of bulk pickup days would increase from one to two a year.
• Condominium associations and mobile home park owners would have the ability to opt in to the garbage contract, or make other arrangements for pickup.
The first advertisement for the new contract should be published next week.