Pasco leaning against curbside recycling

PASCO — The Pasco City Council isn't ready to adopt a curbside recycling program.

The council discussed options Monday after some city residents indicated an interest in curbside recycling.

About 63 percent of residents who responded to a city survey last year said that they would be willing to pay for curbside recycling if it was $4 to $5 more per month.

However, Darrick Dietrich, manager of Basin Disposal, the city's gar-bage contractor, said curbside recycling likely would cost more and would need to be a mandatory service for it to work.

The city has recycling centers scattered throughout the city, many at Pasco School District schools. Dietrich said most homes have a center within a mile of them.

Councilman Bob Hoffmann said he thinks people already are recycling what they can.

"I think we have a good system," he said.

Councilman Saul Martinez, an environmental compliance officer at Hanford, said he is an advocate for recycling and protecting the environment, and is pleased with current centers.

Imposing an extra cost on citizens would be a burden, considering the availability of the recycling centers, he said.

Dietrich said it's a little more expensive to process recyclable materials than it is to dispose of garbage.

Basin Disposal provides unlimited garbage collection. That means there isn't the same incentive for recycling here as in other areas, where companies charge residential customers more for picking up a larger volume of garbage.

A typical curbside program would collect aluminum, tin, newspaper, paper, cardboard and plastic, Dietrich said.

Multi-bin recycling systems take more work and are more expensive to haul, but more is recycled and the recyclable product is better than with a commingled, or single bin, program, Dietrich said.

Multi-bin recycling means residents have to sort the material and the material must be in separate compartments in the recycling truck, he said. Those programs are being phased out.

A commingled recycling program is less expensive, but there are contamination issues with the recyclable materials, so the recyclable product isn't as good, he said.

A mandatory commingled program could cost $4 to $5 a month, while a mandatory multiple bin program could cost $7 to $8 a month, Dietrich said. However, the actual cost would depend on the volume of recycled materials and the market for those materials.

A mandatory recycling program would be necessary to provide stable revenue, Dietrich said. A voluntary program would be too costly.

Even with a mandatory program, having 35 percent of residents participate would be considered successful, he said.

Instead, Dietrich suggested the city consider green waste recycling.

Green waste, such as yard clippings and food waste, could be processed locally, while other recyclable materials must be transported elsewhere, which adds to the cost, he said.

About 20 percent of garbage tends to be green waste, Dietrich said. If the program includes food waste, that would increase to 25 percent to 30 percent of the total waste.

The cost per ton to create compost is about the same as the cost to dispose of that waste, Dietrich said. The cost of creating the green waste program would be putting the carts out and paying for the trucks and labor to collect it.

Councilman Al Yenney said he would like to see a proposal on green waste recycling.

However, the council did not direct staff to look into green waste recycling.

* Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com