SHELDON—The Sheldon City Council will be exploring ways to clean up the messy issue surrounding recycling in the community.
City manager Sam Kooiker brought the renewed issue to the council’s attention during its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 1.
De Kruif Disposal and Schwarz Sanitation of Sheldon sent a letter to Kooiker about the ongoing issue with the community recycling container in the Sheldon Community Services Center’s parking lot.
De Kruif is proposing the removal of the recycling container Oct. 1-Dec. 21.
The two waste management companies think this would encourage more curbside recycling, which Sheldon residents are paying for each month.
Kooiker wanted the council be aware this will be an actionable item at the next meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
“Not asking for action today but I would like to add it to the next agenda,” Kooiker said. “There are downsides and positives to the discussion and we will see how it plays out over the next few weeks.”
De Kruif Disposal is in charge of emptying the recycling container at the Sheldon Community Services Center and reported it is emptied two to three times per week. The letter said the city is paying a “highly discounted” rate of $75 each time the container is emptied.
Councilman Ken Snyder said he has been to the container a few times and noticed garbage in it.
“Has that been a complaint on their part?” Snyder said. “If there is garbage in there, that really messes it up.”
The Sheldon Police Department also has expressed concern regarding the container since the traffic will sometimes block the driveways to the entrance of the police garage.
But the main reason for removing the recycling container for a three-month span would be to encourage more curbside recycling around town.
Councilman Wayne Barahona wanted to know if there was a way to find out from the community about what roadblocks are keeping them from using curbside recycling services.
“I’ve talked to the haulers about it. Is it confusion about pickup time and dates? Is it lack of convenience since you have the container downtown or are you just really don’t care?” Barahona said. “I know this has been something we have been after to try and improve our recycling rates for the last decade. The recycling container has been a good direction, but it’s been used and abused and turned into essentially a regional recycling center.”
Part of the problem is Love In the Name of Christ used to haul cardboard to a center in Mason City, but that service is no longer being offered in Mason City, causing the cardboard program to end. Love INC still accepts paper for recycling.
The two garbage haulers can pickup cardboard as part of the curbside recycling.
“It is important to know as we move forward with this discussion, for curbside recycling, the items do not need to fit in the container,” Kooiker said. “Cardboard isn’t going to fit in those containers but you can stack them up neatly and have them picked up. I’ve done that myself.”
It is not just residents who can set up curbside recycling.
Both companies are looking to encourage businesses to start curbside recycling instead of hauling it to the container at the Sheldon Community Services Center.
Barahona, who is the owner of Super HiTech in Sheldon, went through the process of setting up curbside recycling for his business.
“We get a lot of goods shipped in and we ran into the same situation when the Love INC trailer closed and we, too, were doing the thing of bringing it to the container,” Barahona said. “We talked to our hauler, who said we had the dumpster already and you can call us and tell us you are picking up trash this time or you are picking up recycling and we will haul it away for you. It doesn’t take us awhile to fill up a dumpster full of cardboard so it’s been really nice that the haulers are affording us this opportunity.”
Councilman Tom Eggers said it would be a good idea to help educate the community about the benefits of curbside recycling and the services De Kruif Disposal and Schwarz Sanitation offer.
Eggers said he did not understand the policies at first until recently and has started using the option.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a couple more people like me who don’t understand what their options are,” he said.
Councilman Pete Hamill said a couple of residents expressed concern that if the recycling container at the Sheldon Community Services Center is removed, it will not be just residents who stop bringing their recycling in but also people from around the area.
“The other part is why should we shoulder that cost?” Hamill said. “I told him this stuff is never easy to decide.”
Kooiker said he told the two haulers removal of the container without a plan will not work.
“A removal with a plan is definitely worth discussing,” Kooiker said. “One of the reasons this is coming up is because the contracts are up next year. I mentioned to them that this is something we need to look at and to come up with some ideas.”