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The Tonawanda City Council Tuesday was urged to consider a proposal by the Northeast Solid Waste Management Board inviting 42 of 44 communities in the county to share a single municipal recycling facility in Depew.

The proposal was discussed at the Council's workshop meeting by Alderman John Bartolomeo and Public Works Superintendent David Derrick, who, along with Mayor Alice A. Roth, represent the city on the Northwest Solid Waste Management Board.

Communities in the county, excluding Buffalo and Lackawanna, are represented on one of three solid waste management boards, the Northeast, Northwest or South Towns board. With $7 million in state funding, the county has been helping each board locate a site for a municipal recycling center to serve its own communities.

The county coordinated effort is being taken to comply with a state law requiring municipalities to have a recycling program in operation by Sept. 1, 1992.

The Northwest board, which includes the City and Town of Tonawanda, Kenmore, Grand Island and Amherst, has been unable to find a suitable site for its own operations, Bartolomeo said.

The Northeast board however, has a prospective site at 3327 Walden Ave. in Depew. Once on line, the facility would have a capacity to serve all of Erie and Niagara counties. As a result, other communities are being asked to share the cost of operating the facility.

"It would be to our advantage to join since we are already on board with our own recycling program," Bartolomeo said. Tonawanda's program has been in operation for two years.

Derrick said the cost of using the facility in Depew would be divided among the communities on a per-capita basis. The total cost of the project is estimated at $4.5 million. However, the earlier the city joins, Derrick said, the lower the per-capita cost will be.

And, he said, the city stands to receive larger profits from the sale of recyclables by joining a higher volume operation.

"For every ton over 100,000, the (communities) will take in $3 in revenue," Derrick said.

Bartolomeo also noted that the city would no longer have to house its recyclables at the public works garage. Instead, the materials would be shipped directly to Depew, saving about $10 a ton in shipping costs. The city currently pays $25 a ton to ship its recyclables to a facility in Canada.

Bartolomeo said other Northwest communities had not yet committed to using the Depew facility. Derrick noted that John Finster, the county's solid waste coordinator, was scheduled to attended Kenmore's Village Board meeting Tuesday to pitch the Northeast board's proposal there.

County officials are mulling the idea of forming a countywide recycling district in place of the three boards, he said.

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