Originally Published: Jan 2, 2012 - Wisconsin State Journal
Take an extra few seconds during that next trip to the refuse carts outside the house. That item being pitched just might be bound for the green bin instead of the landfill under Madison's new recycling rules.
Starting with the first collection of 2012 the city will accept more plastic and metal items, including pots, pans, plumbing and small metal appliances such as toasters and power tools. Plastic containers numbered 1 through 7 and plastic bags will also be accepted starting this week.
The changes come as the city begins a new contract, but this time with local company Pellitteri Waste Systems.
The city has contracted with Houston-based Waste Management Systems for the last 20 years, but Waste Management lost the bidding process to Pellitteri, which is in the process of expanding its recycling facility at 4002 Kipp St. to create the company's first single-stream recycling center.
The 55,000-square-foot structure will mean that Madison's recyclables will no longer be transported to Waste Management's Germantown processing center, but instead will be sorted on Madison's Southeast Side.
Pellitteri's current facility handles paper and cardboard recycling for a number of Dane County communities but expanding to single-stream recycling was necessary step toward securing the Madison contract, which is worth about $1.5 million annually to Pellitteri.
"Having this facility is important to the longterm success of our company and helps us to compete with large multi-national companies like Waste Management and Veolia," said David Pellitteri, vice president of finance for Pellitteri Waste Systems.
Pellitteri expects the Kipp Street facility to be fully operational by April and said that the company will hire 15 to 18 new employees by that time.
George Dreckmann, spokesman for the Madison Streets Division, said that Pellitteri's local roots played a large role in winning the contract. Pellitteri has been operating in the Madison area since 1939.
"It was really a tight decision. We've worked successfully with Waste Management for 20 years and there wasn't a lot of difference between the two proposals. Pellitteri is an old family business with deep ties in the Madison area," Dreckmann said. "The only way they can get a chance is if somebody becomes their first customer."
But the city will see financial benefits from the new deal, Dreckmann said.
The processing fee paid to Waste Management in 2011 was $55.13 per ton of recycled material. The new contract with Pellitteri will reduce the city's fee to $46 in 2012. Dreckmann said the reduced fees are estimated to save the city nearly $175,000 per year over the life of the contract, which lasts for five years with the possibility of two, two-year extensions.
The city could also see new revenues from the new materials being accepted. When the processor sells the recycled material, the city will get 80 percent of the revenue. By increasing the number of recycled products, the city will make more money back from new material revenues, which Dreckmann estimates to be around $60,000 annually.
"We think this will mean about 500 to 700 tons of additional material that will not go to landfills," Dreckmann said.
But don't rush to get a larger recycling cart just yet.
Most homes in Madison were supplied with 65-gallon cart when the single-stream recycling program was implemented in 2005. Those excited about the new items being taken for recycling can request a larger 95-gallon cart, but Dreckmann suggested waiting a few weeks to see if household recycling volumes change.
"People won't be recycling pots and pans every week," he added.