Dothan Eagle March 18, 2019: New contract will slash recycling costs for the City of Dothan by Jeremy Wise

Dothan City Commissioners could implement a temporary solution to the city’s burgeoning recycling costs Tuesday if they approve a 90-day contract with a Montgomery company Tuesday.

In late 2018, Dothan Public Works Director Charles Metzger informed the commission that costs for turning in the city’s single-stream (combined materials) recycling had skyrocketed to $125 per ton. The price explosion cost the city about an extra $150,000 per year and forced city leaders to re-evaluate the program’s structure and operation.

Among the options officials considered were limiting recyclable materials to just cardboard or a temporary suspension of the program until market conditions improved, Metzger said.

In January, though, Metzger said his office found a cheaper option for ridding the city of its recyclable material – Repower South of Montgomery, a relatively new operation. The commission could approve a 90-day contract with the outfit at a price of $40 per ton during its Tuesday meeting.

Metzger said the contract serves as a test run for both the city and the company.

“They’ve just started going. They want to take a look at our recyclables,” he said. “If they like the quality, we may get a better long-term rate. We’re hoping to get a long-term contract.”

Market-price fluctuations may limit the length of any future deals, Metzger noted.

On its side, the city plans on refining its collections process and promoting a better understanding of what it will accept in its recycling canisters. For instance, the city will not accept glass products or aerosol cans.

Dothan also operates two manned convenience recycling centers – one each at Westgate Park and at the city landfill – and employees at those locations can also instruct the public on what are the acceptable materials.

As part of the arrangement, the City of Dothan will use another company to haul its recyclable material to the Repower site in Montgomery at a cost of about $6,000 per month, Metzger said. Even with that expense, the new deal could save Dothan more than $100,000 per year, he added.

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