The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors approved signing a contract from Waste Management for three years, rather than the five year contract the company was proposing in its letter to the Supervisors. 

According to the letter from Jay Nieson, of Waste Management, the price will steadily increase each year by 3 percent, for each year following the first year.

Based on 1,000 homes in rural Winnebago County, at $4.11 per home for the first year, the proposed contract starts at $49,320 for 2020, then $50,799.60 for 2021 and finally $52,323.59 for 2022. In 2024, the fifth year of the proposed contract, the price will be $55,510.10.

In the old contract, which expires Oct. 31, the rate was 1,000 houses at $2.81 per home per month for one year, a total of $33,720 for the one-year contract.

“The increase isn’t on the servicing, it’s more on the processing of it, that the commodities have just gone right down the chutes,” Nieson said in the board meeting. “I mean, the price of recycling is starting to catch up to the price of trash and that’s just the way things are currently.”

Nieson said as far as the miles driven and the rural nature of the recycling, their proposal is still “an awfully good pricing for recycling.”

All the recycling collected by Waste Management will go to a recycling facility, Waste Management representative Jason Daver said, adding the company does not landfill and the only thing that would eventually hit a landfill will be the residual of recycling.

“We are the most highly scrutinized company in the nation as far as hauling trash,” Daver said. “We don’t landfill.”

Supervisor Mike Stensrud said some scientists have been saying recycling could be more costly to society than simply throwing things out, but Daver said not recycling would only fill the landfills.

“Our landfills are going to fill up if we don’t recycle, and when our landfills fill up, we’ve got nowhere to go with it,” Daver said. “What are we going to do with it? So just the cost of, you know, in the future if we have to put in incinerators and burners, that’s millions and millions of dollars.”

Supervisor Chairman Terry Durby was concerned whether the increased price and recycling was still beneficial for the county residents, asking if the company got any credit from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), to which Waste Management’s third representative, Jeremiah Behrends, said the company gets a little money back from the landfill for the diversion of recycling, but no money from the DNR.

Daver said he expects the recycling industry prices to fall for another three years because there will be some new technology that will bring more need for recycled material.

“Somewhere where we can put it,” he said. “That’s really what engineers and scientists and everything are working overtime…It’s on the news, you know, what do we do with it, what do we do with it. Well, there’s a huge push from the capital all the way to the White House, let’s find a spot for it, let’s figure out what to do. I think it’s going to take a few more years to get to that point, so yeah, I think we are going to see it triple less. Not in large quantities, but I think we’re going to see another decrease.”

During the Sept. 17 meeting, the supervisors stated they would sign the contract once Waste Management drafted the new contract for three years.

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