In partnership with the Mid Michigan Waste Authority, the City mailed all property owners a flyer regarding recycling changes with their summer tax bill. There are some changes to the residential recycling program (no longer accepting glass and certain plastics) but they are necessary as the authority attempts to find ways to ensure the recycling program is sustainable.
The City does not enter into trash, recycling and yard waste services independently, but is part of an area-wide consortium that negotiates for services. The MMWA began in 1991 by a group of Public Work Directors who were responsible for overseeing municipal services. They knew they could secure more competitive pricing if municipalities joined together. Today, 34-member communities in the region participate. While residents may see Waste Management trucks (the green ones) hauling away materials, it is the MMWA that coordinates the services. In the City of Frankenmuth, our residents receive weekly trash and recycling pick up each Wednesday, and from April 1st through November 30th, weekly yard waste pick up (added in 2018). Your trash, recycling and yard waste is billed each month as part of your water bill.
Residents have inquired as to what is being done to control costs. Costs for solid waste and associated services have been rising over the past several years. Current service agreements were entered into between 2013 and 2016 with expiration dates in 2022. This most recent set of agreements replaced those last negotiated in 2004/2005. As expected, there were significant price increases at that time for trash, recycling and yard waste collection, trash disposal, recyclables processing and yard waste composting services. Solid waste contracts are generally long term agreements that can span seven to ten years during which price steps have been negotiated and can be planned on for the duration of the agreement. While overall estimated solid waste services costs have increased almost 60% since 2013 the estimated cost of providing curbside recycling services has increased over 160% and accounts for over 60% of the increase in total estimated costs when comparing 2013 to 2020.
We are seeking new bids this year through MMWA for recycling. But we know that there is a limit that residents will want to pay for recycling. From consulting with recycling experts and other professionals in the field of recycling, the single biggest thing the Authority can do to control costs is to reduce contamination in the bin. We are asking residents to focus on placing only empty, clean, and dry cardboard, plastics #1 & #2, steel and aluminum cans, and mixed paper in their recycling containers. Contaminated recycling materials end up in the landfill. Our goal is to ensure that what we have residents put to the curb is put to good use.
Additional information about recycling is available below:
Information from MMWA on why costs have increased
City Manager Blog regarding recycling costs increasing