Why Ray Lovato Recycling Center proposed recycling plan would work

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Jena Doak, [email protected]

Rock Springs, Wyoming — Surely, the phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” means nothing to the next generation if adults do not set the example. Yes, it takes time to collect and separate materials. Some may ask, “What’s the use?”

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There are many ways in which it contributes to a better, happier world.

“Recycling is not only good for the environment, but it can save money for taxpayers by slowing down the need for massive infrastructure investments in landfills,” said Devon Brubaker, Ray Lovato Recycling Center Board President.

The Ray Lovato Recycling Center (“the Center”) is developing a business plan in which recycling services could be greatly expanded in the region.

“The key to this plan is the procurement of sortation equipment from Revolution Systems, Inc., which would allow the Center to support the processing of single-stream (unsorted) recycling,” said Brubaker. “This new equipment would allow for the efficient sortation of a multitude of products, including products not currently accepted for recycling.”

The new equipment would cost roughly $500,000. The key to the success of this plan is large volumes of recycling.

How Rock Springs residents would save money:

Rock Springs is inside the limits of Sweetwater County Solid Waste District #1. As such, they pay through their property taxes for management of the landfill on Highway 191 South. Therefore, they only pay transportation costs to Peak Disposal or Wyoming Waste for hauling trash to the landfill.

Under the Center’s preliminary plan, the Center would work with the Rock Springs City Council to modify the existing franchise agreement structure to require that private waste haulers provide the residents of Rock Springs with a recycling bin, which would greater ensure a high volume of recyclables.

The Rock Springs private waste haulers would bring the recycling to the Recycling Center. As stated, the residents of Rock Springs pay for management of solid waste through property taxes. As part of the Center’s preliminary proposal, the Center would ask the Solid Waste District to pay the residents’ fees to the Recycling Center, using proceeds from what residents already pay through their property taxes.

Rock Springs residents would likely see an increase only to their monthly hauling fee. However, they would likely pay less money through property taxes for management of the landfill, explained below.

The amount of funding the Solid Waste District would provide the Center would decrease. The Center’s preliminary proforma (financial statement) considers a smaller fee to the Center than what is currently paid to the landfill. This provides savings to the Solid Waste District, which would likely be passed onto residents and businesses of the district. It would also provide savings to residents and businesses by slowing down the need to build additional landfill areas.

To handle the new volume, the Center proposes to install a tension fabric addition to allow for waste trucks to dump recycling without being windblown around the surrounding area.

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Is the cost of the $500,000 equipment justified?

Expenses at the Center, including the cost to pay off the equipment procurement, would be paid by revenues generated. One revenue source would be from fees to the Center paid by the Solid Waste District. The other revenue resource would come from the sale of recycled materials on the international markets.

What could possibly stand in the way of the City of Rock Springs moving forward with curbside recycling?

One question they raised to Brubaker at a recent City Council meeting pertained to whether the center could handle the increased volume. Brubaker answered that question satisfactorily by explaining how the addition of a tension fabric would work.

Another question posed to Brubaker by the Council concerned the longevity of a successful recycling program.

Brubaker explained to Wyo4News two scenarios in which the required mass of volume could be generated by Rock Springs residents to allow the Recycling Center to break even, or better.

“The EPA actually has solid data that dictates how much waste an average residence utilizes in one day, and how much of that is recyclable.” said Brubaker. “That’s how we developed our proforma.”

The Center calculated scenarios that would work. One situation would consider that if everybody in Rock Springs had a bin, but only half of the residents used it, the program would succeed. Another similar example is if every resident recycled, but they accidentally only recycled half of their products.

“We can be successful with even less than 50% participation rate,” said Brubaker.

Recycling in Rock Springs could be a done deal, if people would seek answers to the obvious questions concerning the return on the investment of a $500,000 piece of equipment. The equipment would pay for itself. Rock Springs residents’ payments would likely be a wash with payment already coming from their property taxes, which would be partially diverted to the Recycling Center.

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