Sedalia on The Brink of New Recycling Campaign

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A grant from a national nonprofit is setting in motion the lead-up to Sedalia’s new recycling system. The Sedalia City Council approved the terms of a $58,300 grant from The Recycling Partnership last week. The nonprofit is providing funds from a group of large corporations supporting curbside recycling. This grant will contribute to changes in the City of Sedalia’s trash and recycling service. Each residence on the city’s pick-up routes will receive a gray trash cart and a blue recycling cart. Three automated side-loading trucks will lift the square-shaped carts with a mechanical arm. Companies such as Amazon, Target and Starbucks have financed The Recycling Partnership to assist communities with making these kinds of investments in recycling services. “They are the source of the material that we recycle,” said Brenda Ardrey, Sedalia Public Works Department director. “So, they’re helping communities that might not otherwise be able to start these programs or have resources to do it.” The Recycling Partnership is donating $7 for each of the 7,100 recycling carts coming to the city’s new system. An additional $7,300 will finance public outreach to instruct Sedalians about helpful recycling practices. Ardrey said 95-gallon containers will make up 80 percent of the 14,200-cart total while 65-gallon carts will make up 20 percent. Services for residents who need help with moving their waste bins will continue. The automated trucks will eliminate the need for sanitation workers to ride on the back of garbage trucks and lift heavy containers. Three of the city’s existing rear-loading trucks will receive mechanical tippers to lift carts, as they will continue routes in tight areas that the side-loading trucks won’t be able to service. Ardrey said the carts and automated trucks should arrive in early August. Rehrig Pacific Co. will manufacture the carts and assist in distributing them to homes across the city. Pick-up schedules and routes should remain the same initially, Ardrey said. The automated trucks will be able to pick up more recycling in a day than the current system can handle, so she didn’t rule out a change to route schedules in the future. Should more waste enter the recycling stream rather than the trash, the city will have to pay less in tonnage to the local landfill. Tonnage fees cost about $300,000 in taxpayer dollars each year. “If we reduce the amount going to the landfill, then we pay lower landfill prices,” Ardrey said. “That means everybody gets a break in the long run on their trash bill.” The Recycling Partnership grant will fund a bag full of informative materials to be hung on the door of each home on the city’s recycling routes. The information inside will tell residents what waste materials could go in the recycling carts. The bags will also contain pick-up schedules and drop-off locations for glass recycling. The Public Works Department is coordinating with Callis Integrated Marketing to create an informative webpage ahead of the new system. Callis is also helping the department prepare public outreach for pilot recycling projects. The city could receive grants to start an organics and food waste recycling program. Another project would collect glass waste from businesses and restaurants in Sedalia. Citizens will see more glass recycling opportunities as large purple Ripple Glass containers are set around the city. One already sits at the Materials Management site and near Smith-Cotton Junior High School. Ardrey is still planning two other locations where the containers could collect glass recycling, which city curbside service doesn’t collect. The Materials Management Site is even collecting refrigerators, freezers and air conditioning units to recycle Freon and scrap the metal. “We’re going to keep looking for different types of materials (and) how do we reduce what we’re taking to the landfill to reduce overall costs to the program,” she said. “Sedalia has responded very favorably to all the efforts. We’ve got people all willing to help and work together, and that makes these programs come together much quicker.”