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City weighs recycling options
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MONROE - The City of Monroe is getting a better deal on its disposal of recycling through Veolia Environmental Services than it could through the Green County transfer station - for now.

But that could change if the city decides to purchase automated garbage trucks next spring, and if the price of recycling goes up.

Going with another recycling company "might make more sense, once we go automated," said Reid Stangel, president of the Board of Public Works.

"The only way to know for sure is to give it a try," Randy Thompson, manager at the county's transfer station, replied.

Thompson did a cost analysis of two area waste collection companies, Rock Disposal, Inc. of Beloit and Pellitteri Waste Systems of Monona, sending 4.5 tons of Monroe's single stream recycling to each. Single stream recycling is also known as commingled or single-sort recycling.

"Rock Disposal doesn't even want it," because of the blue recycling bags required by the city, Thompson said. Pellitteri, who can recycle the bags, wants the recycling, he said.

After including the cost of transporting the city's recycling to the transfer stations, members of the board Monday discovered the cost would be twice as much to use the county's facility.

The city paid Veolia about $1,600 for about 75 tons of recycling in July. The city paid about $5,220 for processing and transportation, and it received $3,620, or 80 percent of the sale, for the recycled material.

Tom Boll, director of Monroe's streets and sanitation department, said the cost varies month to month according to the market price for recycling. Since 2009, the price for recycling has been going down, he said, resulting in an increase cost to the city.

Thompson said the cost to the city for the county to handle its recycling would be $18 per ton, using Pellitteri, who would guarantee a cap of $18 per ton for three years. The cost for 75 tons would be $1,350, maximum. If the recycled items are sold for more than $18 per ton, the extra would come back to the city, he added.

The board looked at the difference in the distances Monroe trucks would have to travel to take advantage of the Pellitteri offer, through the county transfer station, about 10 miles away. Veolia is located inside the city boundaries, on the west side.

Using its current collection trucks, the city's employees would have to make about 40 trips per month to the county transfer station for recycling, according to Boll. At $100 per trip, the added cost would be $4,000 per month.

But if the city purchases the automated trash truck for garbage pickup, which it is considering doing in the spring, the new trucks could take larger loads and make fewer trips, perhaps as few as 10 per month. That could lower the transport costs to $1,000 a month.

The blue bags would also be gone, making the competition for Monroe's recycling more attractive to other collection companies.

Though the companies work out their price contracts differently, whether the city will ever come close to breaking even on recycling disposal is going to depend upon the future market for recyclables.