Isle of Wight County OKs recycling plan

Published 9:33 am Saturday, January 23, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—The Southeastern Public Service Authority’s recycling fees may have been a bargain, Isle of Wight County officials learned Thursday.

“Currently we pay SPSA $107 every time they come out and pickup one of our recycling containers,” said Eddie Wrightson, Isle of Wight County’s general services director. “That $107 includes SPSA actually recycling the material.”

However, last year, SPSA announced that it would no longer handle recycling come this March, leaving member communities, including Isle of Wight, scrambling to find another provider, especially since state law mandates that a certain percentage of all localities’ solid waste be recycled.

“This is a mandate by the state of Virginia for us to recycle,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Phillip Bradshaw said. “Twenty-five percent of all the waste generated in the county has to be recycled.”

Last year, the county participated in a joint request for proposals for recycling services, along with Franklin and Southampton County. The RFP generated three bids, with Moody’s/AVES being the lowest for container pickup.

“The low bid on that was $137.50 to pick up recycling containers,” Wrightson said. “In addition to that, there is also going to be a $22 a ton processing fee and any non-recyclables that are in the recycling stream will have to be disposed of in the landfill, and the low bid was $46 a ton.”

Although the cost of the program is rising nearly 60 percent, the county is looking to keep its costs level by using compactors to reduce the number of recycling pickups required.

“A compactor will hold 6 or 7 tons of recycled material, where a non-compactor container only holds about 1 (ton),” Wrightson said. “By using compactors we are able to maintain what we are currently spending.”

The Board of Supervisors OK’d the first phase of the county’s new recycling plan, which involves duplicating SPSA’s current services, repurposing an existing compactor for recycling purposes and purchasing nine recycling containers.

Container costs are estimated to be between $12,000 and $40,000—the price could fall closer to the low end if the county is able to negotiate a deal to buy SPSA’s containers.

Southampton and Franklin are moving forward with a joint recycling plan, also with Moody’s/AVES.

“Franklin and Southampton County were primarily looking for curbside pickup; we’re doing convenience center pickup, so it really wouldn’t be appropriate for us to partner with them,” Wrightson said.

Currently SPSA provides recycling containers at five of the county’s eight convenience centers, Windsor Elementary School and the county government complex. However, the county hopes to expand recycling containers to all eight convenience centers.