Shawnee Co. makes changes to keep recycling program

13 News at Six
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 3:09 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee Co. is keeping its curbside recycling program, but at a cost.

At their meeting Thursday, commissioners approved a three-month extension with Waste Management to provide the service. Solid Waste Manger Bill Sutton says the goal is to negotiate a longer-term contract later.

Commissioners also approved rate increases, effective February 1, 2023, which will allow customers to opt out of curbside recycling.

Shawnee Co. Solid Waste customers in the city of Topeka will pay $22 a month, up from $20.22. Those outside the city will go from $21.52 to $23.

Curbside recycling will cost an additional $3.50 a month. Sutton said the county will release information on how customers can opt out in January.

Sutton said the delay in implementing the increases and signing the longer-term contract will allow for staff to get the billing changes and processes in place.

The county said increases were necessary in order to offset the cost of services. For recycling, the new contract calls for higher payments to Waste Management.

During the extension, Sutton said the county will pay WM a processing fee of $139 per ton, as opposed to the current fee of $59.03 per ton. The new longer contract still under consideration would make it $149 per ton.

For comparison, Sutton said solid waste paid $4,449.30 for recycling services in November. Under the new contract, the bill would have been $62,835.50.

In an interview last week on Eye on NE Kansas, commissioner Kevin Cook said the county was taking a serious cost/benefit look at the recycling issue. He noted 46 percent of what county residents put in their bins was considered contaminated for issues ranging from being too dirty to being an unacceptable material. Cook said any continued program must include educational efforts.