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Private contractor to replace city recycling bins

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Juno Ogle Photo The city of Roswell’s big, green recycling bins will roll away for good June 30. The city is working with a local private company to provide contract curbside recycling.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The big, green recycling bins located around Roswell will soon be rolled off for good as the city plans to have a private contractor take over the service.

“Things are changing because of the funding,” City Manager Joe Neeb told the Roswell City Council at a budget hearing Tuesday afternoon. “We are getting ready to initiate a change in the recycling service. We are going to be doing away with the drop sites,” he said.

The nine bins will be removed from around town and taken to the landfill on June 30, Solid Waste Director Abraham Chaparro said. They will not be available to the public.

“The hope is that a local private recycling collection company will step in as a service provider for the city residents,” Chaparro said.

Wesley Muñoz, owner of J&A Recycling, 2215 S. Union Ave., confirmed Friday afternoon his company is in talks with the city. He said he was too busy to discuss details Friday afternoon, however.

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J&A Recycling is now leasing 800 square feet of a building at the Roswell Air Center for sorting recyclable material. The contract was approved by the City Council at its May 14 meeting for $300 a month.

The city hopes to offer a franchise agreement, much like it has with four companies for commercial waste disposal in town, Neeb said.

“We set a rate with them and we allow them because we have exclusive territory within the city to do this service,” Neeb said.

“What we’re doing is saying that other individuals can provide the same service rather than us providing it. The same thing will happen with the recycling,” he said.

The service will be curbside pickup and products can be co-mingled in one container, Neeb said.

“You can just put it into the bucket and have it picked up right at your house rather than doing the drop-off sites. We believe this is a good way to go in order to help improve a service that we don’t believe we can afford to maintain at the level we have been,” Neeb said.

Recycling has cost the city about $225,000 a year, Neeb said, due mostly to market changes and the value of the material. The expense has been subsidized by solid waste collections for the past three years, according to Neeb’s presentation.

With the downturn in the oil and gas industry and an expected 24% decrease in gross receipts taxes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is looking to cut more than $31 million from its expenses for the fiscal 2021 budget.

In addition to cutting costs, Chaparro said switching to a private contractor will likely result in a cleaner recycling program.

“Right now when we receive a lot of that recycling, there’s a high contamination rate,” he said.

The city has found organics such as grass clippings among recycling, which makes it almost impossible to process, he said.

“We do the best we can to sort it all out by hand with two individuals,” he said.

The city’s recycling center processed 208 tons of material last year, according to the city’s 2019 annual report.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.