December 6, 2021

County’s recycling operation expenses to increase

Recycling stock image

Two days after Cortland County officials took over recycling operations, the facility to which it shipped materials for processing was destroyed in a fire, meaning the county must pay more money to contract with another company.

“It’s an overall increase in the county budget,” Charlie Sudbrink, the county highway supervisor, said Wednesday.

The county took over recycling operations at the Pendleton Street facility Jan. 1 and had a contract with Taylor Garbage Services of Vestal, which operates a materials recycling facility. Those types of facilities receive, separate and send the recyclables to manufacturers.

However,the Taylor Garbage fa-cility located at 5730 Route 434 in Apalachin caught fire Friday, causing the county to have to look elsewhere to bring recyclables.

“It’s been a challenging couple of days,” Sudbrink told legislators during a Solid Waste Committee meeting Tuesday.

So Sudbrink turned to plan B. That involved seeing what other facilities were interested in taking the county’s recyclables.

Recycling presentation

The Cortland County Legislature will hear a presentation Thursday by the county highway department on the changes to the county’s recycling program.

The county took over recycling operations Jan. 1 and changed how residents must recycle, including separating glass from other materials.

The 20-minute presentation at the 6 p.m. meeting at the County Office Building is meant to explain changes and why they were made.

Sudbrink indicated the best option was Bert Adams Disposal, which has a material recycling facility in Binghamton and set up a month-to-month agreement to take the county’s recyclables with the cost based on the quality of the recyclables.

“That’s why were trying so hard to improve our recycling stream,” he said. “There’s ups and downs in recycling.”

The cost for Taylor Garbage was anywhere from $40 to $70 per ton. However, the county’s contract with Taylor paid Cortland County to haul back glass to use as cover on the land fill, making the agreement essentially cost-neutral, plus the cost of transportation.

“It was ideal for the county and Bob Taylor,” Sudbrink said. Sudbrink said he got three responses when looking for another facility and that there was $45 per ton difference between the highest and lowest quotes of the three businesses. Sudbrink said some of the tipping fees were above $100.

“He also has a contract with the city,” Sudbrink said to collect both its trash and recycling. Sudbrink said one positive about using Adams is that because it has the contract with the city Adams will just haul the recyclables straight to his facility, saving some money on county hauling costs. The county will truck the rest of the recyclables to Adams’ facility.

“It makes absolutely no sense to collect them, drop them off, then load them up and we haul them down there if they’re heading down there at the end of the day, anyway,” Sudbrink said.

However, the new plan doesn’t save the city any money either. “But at least we have a plan,” said committee Chairman Christopher Newell (R-Cortlandville).

Taylor Garbage does plan to rebuild the facility, said Stephen Donnelly, a public relations consultant in an emailed statement.

Donnelly said the fire is believed to have been started by a cell phone that was in with recyclables.

Sudbrink is unsure how long rebuilding the Taylor facility will take, so he doesn’t know how much more it will cost the county to work with Adams.