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Lockport recycling panel considers details of plan

The city's recycling committee decided Monday that it will recommend to the Common Council that full curbside recycling spread gradually across the city rather than beginning citywide at once.

The starting date and the contractor that would take the city's recyclables are yet to be chosen. The date will probably depend on the timetable for bidding out the disposal work.

"We're still considering it will be municipal collection. [Picking up the trash] will not be contracted out," said Dawn M. Walczak, Niagara County's environmental science coordinator, a committee member.

The committee's plan also envisions giving one 18-gallon recycling bin to each one- or two-family household, with multiple dwellings and businesses being assigned 95-gallon totes.

The price tag estimated by Highways and Parks Superintendent Michael E. Hoffman to begin recycling is $257,600, but that includes $155,000 for a new garbage truck to carry the recyclables. After the city workers empty the bins into the truck, a driver will haul the material to the facility of whichever local company wins the recycling contract.

Hoffman requested the new vehicle from the Council last week. He said Monday that he would need it whether the city was starting recycling or not, because he has a worn-out, 22-year-old truck that he said needs replacing. Subtracting the truck as a recycling cost leaves a tab of $102,600.

Bins and totes would cost $74,500; two tote lifters would be attached to garbage trucks for a total of $7,000; and the rest of the cost is for public awareness materials.

On top of that, Hoffman said, a motor equipment operator would have to be hired, so add $47,146 for a year's salary and benefits.

"You're not going to get [recycling] for free. It's going to cost more than what we're doing now," Hoffman said. "We're hoping to reduce the waste stream enough so it balances out."

Walczak estimated that, depending on market prices for recyclables, the plan might pay for itself in five years -- if city residents cooperate by recycling at least 50 percent of the trash that is eligible for recycling.

The plan being proposed is to start recycling one day per week, choosing one of the five weekday garbage routes. Another garbage day would be added a month or two later, said committee chairman Jeff Tracy.

"It could be a five- to 10-month rollout," said Tracy, a Starpoint Central teacher.

Alderwoman Richelle J. Pasceri, R-1st Ward, who pushed the idea that Lockport should start curbside recycling, said she'd like to see her own ward go first in the recycling rollout. The five weekday trash routes correspond roughly to the five Council wards.

At present, Lockport collects only newspapers and cardboard at the curb. If city residents are inclined to recycle bottles, cans and plastic, they must drive to the county Refuse Disposal District landfill on the Lockport Bypass and use the Dumpsters there.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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