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Hagerstown's new recycling program begins in new year

New contract brings a drop in refuse bills and a more simplified collection process.

December 18, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com

Starting Jan. 1, and continuing for at least three years, the city will contract with Waste Management of Pennsylvania for weekly trash, yard waste and single-stream recycling collection.

The new program will save the city annually on the cost to provide refuse service.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue noted previously that some of the savings comes through changing contractors.

Waste Management will dispose of the city's refuse at Mountainview Landfill in Upton, Pa., saving the city $10 per ton in landfill tipping fees.

On Nov. 22, the city council voted to lower the annual refuse rate charged to residents by $8, to reflect the savings of the new contract, said City Clerk Donna Spickler.

Collection will simplify under the new program.

"It's all about convenience," Tissue said previously.

Currently, residents have to set out items three to four days a week, according to a news release from the city.

Citizens pay $133.22 a year per residential unit under the current program for twice-weekly trash pickup, weekly dual-stream or separated recycling, and yard waste collection.

Under the new program, residents will pay an estimated $127.70. Most residents will have a single, weekly day of collection for all their refuse.

However, those in the city center, also being called zone "F" by the city, will continue to receive twice-weekly trash collection. Residents can find out their zone by visiting the city's website.

As part of the new program, residents no longer need to separate their recyclables. The city council chose to move to what is known as single-stream recycling, through which glass, plastic, metal and paper can all be tossed in one bin for collection.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said studies have shown that being able to put all recyclables in one bin leads to significantly more communitywide recycling.

Only a fraction of the more than 14,000 residential units in the city currently recycle, Tissue said previously.

The city is hoping that with more people recycling, it will not need a second, citywide trash pickup each week, the release said.

Residents will also be given new bins for recycling.

By April, the city plans to start a recycling incentive program, the release said.

Residents will be able to cash in on rewards through the program simply by recycling, according to the release.

The new bins will each have a unique identifier that shows which residents are participating in the incentive program and how many reward points the resident earns, the release said. The more residents who participate, the more rewards participants earn.

Residents can use points for discounts at local businesses, or donate to green education at a city school, the release said.

More details on the incentives will be available in March, the city said.

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