Recology Western Oregon had asked city council in November to approve a 5 percent increase in monthly trash collection rates next year because of rising recycling costs; but, before the increase was approved, the issue of polystyrene foal recycling arose from Zero Waste McMinnville, which has a goal to make McMinnville the first city in Oregon to divert 90 percent of waste from landfill by 2024.
Agilyx Corp. offered to reprocess the city’s discarded polystyrene foam if Recology agreed to establish a drop-off site at its transfer station and provide the hauling services. Recology returned to council to request a 5.5 percent increase rate for 2019 to support the extra costs of the new program.
“We took another hard look at this and we’re very pleased to propose a Styrofoam program,” Recology Western Oregon General Manager Carl Peters told city council. “We saw three options: To not have a program, to approve the program and associated costs but delay the implementation or to approve the program and associated costs and get this off the ground.”
McMinnville City Council Tuesday approved the 5.5 recycling rate increase and commended Recology for proposing a program that fit the city's recycling needs.
Under the program, Recology will accept “polystyrene foam, block Styrofoam packaging material, coolers, meat trays, egg cartons,” single-use cups, utensils and plates and food containers from residents and small commercial businesses at the drop-off site.
The hauler thanked Agilyx Corp., Zero Waste McMinnville and McMinnville City Council for support in what it calls a one of a kind venture.
“I see an opportunity to work with our Zero Waste team and the customer base to look at special collection projects,” Peters said. “We need to be strategic in our approach. Those items are out there though, and we do need to get at them.”
“I want to continue to watch the industry pressure to shift businesses away from Styrofoam,” he added. “We’re already seeing some of that with Amazon going to the bubble packaging. Some things are moving in that direction.”
Peters mentioned the potential of the program expanding to nonpolystyrene materials as well as to large commercial businesses.
“We will be ready to accept Styrofoam starting the day after Christmas,” he said. “The need is there, and we want to be the partner to help get it done. This is a realistic and doable program. We want to do small steps first. I think this really addresses a need for the residents.”