IRMO RECYCLES (as of 11/18/18)

America's Cold Civil War

There was some discussion again at our last meeting about the recycling of glass. Yes, Sunoco will take glass. They always have, and nothing is different today. Curb-side recycling of glass is a different issue. When Tyler Industries picks up your household trash and takes it to the Lexington dump site, the Town is not charged anything for that since Lexington County covers that cost with property tax on Lexington County residents. The household trash that is picked up in the Richland County side of Irmo and taken to the landfill and dumped, there is a charge for that. That charge is $25.79 per ton (zero went to $25.00/ton earlier this year, and now it is $55.00 per ton for all recycling that is dumped at Sunoco with no recycled). Recycling that is collected in the Town of Irmo, Richland and Lexington Counties (both),is taken to the Sunoco Recylcing Center and dumped. They want the paper and plastic, aluminum, cans, etc. and they do not charge when stuff is dumped there that they want, and the way they want it. So the more that people in Irmo and elsewhere recycles, instead of being charged $25.79 at Richland County, you are charged zero per ton at Sunoco for the recyclables that they want, how they want it.  Tyler doesn't care whether we recycle glass or not, but we do as a Town because every ton of recycling that is dumped at Sunoco that has busted glass bottles in it, they charge us $30/ton instead of zero $'s per ton (they now would charge us $80/ton instead of $55/ton). It is easy for them and effective for them to sort and recycle the paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, and other items based on their set up, but if glass is busted in that recycling they have to pick it out, get it out, before they sort. If they don't, the glass gets into their system, conveyor belt, and runs up their maintenance costs.  So, we have to keep the glass out of the curbside recycling or it cost more money to do so. It would actually cost more to recycle than it would to put in the landfill.
But since it was brought up during presentation of citizens at our last meeting, that recycling wasn't working in Irmo, nobody was doing it, I would like to provide the facts, not just an opinion.  One opinion given at the last meeting was that the individual doesn't recycle. One of the Councilmember's opinion, was that they had more recycling in their recycle bin, than they had trash in their trash can. We as a family, try to recycle as much as possible, it's good for the environment, saves the Town money, which in turns saves me money. Our current residential rate is $210 per year. Other places charge $200-250 per year. Some are $280. 
But I would like to address the numbers first, and then some other comments I have recently read about Tyler Industries our service provider.  For the last six months 918 tons of household waste has been dumped at the Richland County landfill. Lexington County was 519 tons.  A total of 1,437 tons collected in the Town of Irmo and dumped at the landfills, plus 275 tons of recyclables have been dumped at Sunoco. Which accounts for about 16% of what is being dumped at the landfill is being recycled. Is 16% great? It's not 100%, but they can't take 100% of household trash. Is 16% good? I think so. 20 or 25% is better, but I still think that's pretty good.
Now if those 275 tons had NOT gone to the recycling center, if you assume that 64% of that recyclables came from RC residents just like the household trash, and we would have paid $25.79 per ton of extra trash dumped at the landfill, that would have cost around $7100 for those six months, $14,200 per year. So, by us recycling, we have saved that much we don't have to charge the residents for. That's why our rate is what it is, instead of what others are charging. Maybe you would like to pay more, but over the last so many years I have been serving and dealing with this, most people have been complaining about it going up even a minor amount.  This is why we are doing what we can to keep it as low as we can.
I recently read where some people were complaining or where someone had complained about the service and how they won't pick up piles of sticks. They will, and they do.  But yes, they require them to be bundled, or you can put them in a bag or a trash can. If they stop to pick up one trash can and empty it, as opposed to three or four trips to pick up a bundle of sticks and may not get them all to someone's satisfaction. That takes more time, time is money. In negotiating their contract for the best price we could get, they will pick up big brush piles, as long as they're no bigger than 4" in diameter, and 4 foot long. All the little piles of sticks need to be bundled or in one little hand full pickup, or in a bag, or in a can. Because when they come back to renegotiate their contract and they are doing a lot of extra work, then they are going to add to their fees. The easier we make it for them to grab and go, the better pricing they give us. And the better price you the resident gets. 
The other thing I want to address is the multiple days. Yes, they can come in town on Monday and have one or two trucks running picking up all yard waste, another 2 or 3 trucks running to pick up recyclables, and another 3 or 4 trucks to pick up all the household, and everyone of those trucks has one driver and one or two on the back. That's a lot of trucks, and that's a lot of employees, and that's a lot of money. But if they come in to town on Monday and pickup yard waste, and then those same trucks and employees come back Tuesday and pick up one half of Irmo's recyclaables, and next week's Tuesday the other half of Irmo's recyclables, and then they come back in town with those same trucks and employees and pick up one half of the town's household trash, comes back on Thursday picks up the other half household trash, and then they have Friday to take care of any misses or any snafoos or any problems, or holidays, or storms, etc. etc., then that means they have the same 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 employees whatever it is working 4-5 days/week and the same 4 or 5 trucks running in town every day, or they can multiply that number by 5 and have them here in one day, one way costs five times as much as the other way. So instead of $210/year doing the way they do it, it could be a $1,050/year. That's why we chose the multiple days, simple as that. Is a little bit of pain? Yes. Does it save alot of money? Yep. I voted to save money, because that's what most residents want.
The previous provider we had 30-50 calls per day from residents that were unhappy with their service being missed. Now we probably have 1 call a week if that. Is Tyler perfect? No. Do they have perfect employees? No. But I have seen a tremendous improvement in service since we switched to Tyler. And I have had very few since we switched and got through the switch, a couple email from one resident unhappy with Tyler and I have seen two comments on a facebook page of people unhappy with Tyler. I was getting that everyday at my shop with the previous company. Tyler is working hard for Irmo, and Irmo's recycling is saving us money. And if somebody wants to be an entreprenuer and figure out a way of collecting glass in Irmo, and hauling it to Sunoco, and making a dollar, I would encourage them to go for it. It might be a good business to start. We thought about it as a Town, but can't come up with an economical alternative for curbside glass recycling that doesn't cost money.
I spoke with Jane Hiller of Sunoco about coming to the Town and putting on a presentation about the recycling process at Sunoco. She did come. I believe it was August 30th and put on a wonderful presentation. Council was there, some of our staff were there, and a small turnout of citizens.  Wished it would have been more. She did an excellent job of explaining the process with videos, question and answer session about the do's and dont's of recycling, the transportation costs of recycling and what is good recycling and smart recycling.  She also addressed the China issue relating to recycling, and what's going on in the world that affects recycling here. There is good recycling, and there is recycling that some believe is good that is actually wasting their time, energy, and resources.  In the end all that bad recycling goes to a landfill. We need to do a better job of learning what is good, smart recycling, and we as a Council have agreed to start putting smart recycling updates on our list serve and on the Town of Irmo facebook page, and a link on our website to Sunoco Recycling.The better you as a resident do as they request, and as the Town requests, the cheaper our garbage rates are going to be.  Otherwise, we will see future increases to those rates.