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Niagara Falls to issue totes for garbage and recycling pickups

NIAGARA FALLS – City residents will be getting city-issued garbage and recycling totes later this year as part of changes to curbside waste pickup.

Similar to programs in some other municipalities around Western New York, residents will be getting 64-gallon wheeled carts for garbage and 96-gallon wheeled carts for recyclable materials. Recycling pickups be every other week, as opposed to the current weekly pickups. The city, which is planning an outreach and education program for residents, will continue offering leaf and yard waste pickup.

When the new program goes into effect – city officials have not announced a startup date – the amount of garbage that will be picked up at the curb on a weekly basis will be limited to what fits in the tote.

The changes are meant to boost recycling participation as well as save the city money, according to officials.

City Administrator Donna D. Owens said the city government expects to save about $500,000 per year over what the city pays now, primarily through cost avoidance. The program also aims to increase the city’s recycling rate from a paltry 4 percent, which Owens called “terrible.”

“We can do better than that, and this will afford us the opportunity,” Owens said.

The city’s recycling rate is determined by measuring the volume of the recyclable material set out for weekly pickup compared with the amount of garbage that’s put out. The city would see the savings if it pays less in disposal fees by cutting the amount of garbage that’s picked up, as well as from additional revenue from increased recycling.

The City Council on Monday night approved a five-year contract for garbage and recycling pickup with Modern Disposal Services of Lewiston that runs through April 30, 2019. The total annual cost for waste pickup under the deal is about $2.7 million, Owens said. The city will also receive additional services from Modern under the new contract, including emergency waste pickup after storms as well as Dumpster rentals.

Lawmakers also approved a $2.1 million purchase of the totes from Cascade Cart Solutions of Grand Rapids, Mich. Half of the city’s costs for the purchase may be reimbursed by the state.