• December 8, 2019

Northfield considers buying recycling carts for homes - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Northfield considers buying recycling carts for homes

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 10:47 am

NORTHFIELD — Northfield City Council considered purchasing recycling carts for more than 3,100 residences in the city in an effort to improve recycling rates. 

During a Tuesday, Nov. 26, city council work session, the council heard a presentation on purchasing the carts from Brian Lefke, vice president of the wastewater division of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA). 

A work session is held immediately before each City Council meeting. 

The city would own the recycling carts if they purchase them from the ACUA. 

Currently, about 319 homes in Northfield have recycling carts. If the city purchases the carts from the ACUA, they would buy 3,150. 

With a recycling grant, the city would pay $41 per cart, or about $129,000 over the course of five years. The grant would reduce the cost by $15 per cart. 

The ACUA recommended 96-gallon carts for Northfield. Carts are wheeled and have lids.  

Each cart also has a chip in it that corresponds with the residence it is assigned to. 

Lefke estimated the average lifespan of the carts is between seven and 10 years. 

“Our trucks are equipped with readers so we can tell whether or not something was collected from the house or not,” he said. 

Lefke said the benefit is less trash going into the landfills and less cost for Northfield to dispose of a ton of trash. 

The carts would also likely improve the city’s recycling rate, according to Lefke. 

Northfield’s recycling rate is about 50 percent, and it has the highest rate among Atlantic County’s municipalities. 

However, Lefke said they “can do better.”

In their experience, a city purchasing carts for residences increases recycling rates from 7 percent up to 35 percent. 

“We think you can go probably 10 or 12 percent higher than you are right now for recycling carts,” he said. 

It also reduces litter, Lefke said. 

“Twenty gallon buckets are fine, but a lot of material tends to blow out of containers that wouldn’t (otherwise),” he said. 

“Another advantage is a lack of moisture. It’s hard to keep the materials clean and dry.  Cardboard and paper is about 60 percent of what we recycle right now, and markets don’t like wet materials so it stops the rejection of materials,” he said. 

These carts are also easier for the ACUA’s crews to collect. 

Lefke said they can deliver the 3,150 carts in about three days. 

Mayor Erland Chau said Northfield was “probably one of the first communities” involved in the recycling program in Atlantic County and said he was an avid supporter of the recycling program. 

He said he has had one at his house for seven or eight years and said they are durable. 

“The aspect is you’re saving on landfills,” he said. “I’ve been to meetings and I’m on the solid waste committee and one of the concerns in Atlantic County is our landfill. We have a problem here in Atlantic County, as well as throughout the state of New Jersey, that our landfills are getting filled and the less that we can put in there and the more we can recycle, these landfills will stay in longer and longer.”

Some members of council were concerned about the burden the cost of purchasing the bins could have on taxpayers. 

Councilwoman Susan Korngut said she was concerned “we’re going to have 300 people come in here and say, ‘I just spent $60, $80, at Lowe’s and now that was a waste because I’m now getting it through the city and the taxes are going up.”

“I’ve had interest in it from a resident before, so I know they’re good all around. I understand the benefits. Certainly, there’s ease of use,” she added. 

City Council did not make a decision on the carts during the work session meeting.

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