Recycling will change in Lawrenceville, starting next year, as city leaders look at eliminating curb-side recycling while figuring out an alternative option.
City Manager Chuck Warbington said Gwinnett’s county seat is facing a sharp rise in the cost of recycling. The city had previously been able to take recyclable materials to a company that would accept it without charging a tipping charge — which is a fee to recycle the materials — because it could turn around and sell the materials. That buyers’ pool has dried up and the cost is now being passed on to the city, Warbington said.
“There’s just no market for recyclable materials, so we’ve gone from a tipping charge of zero to $56 a ton,” Warbington said. “That is actually double the tipping charge if we just had it as regular trash, which seems kind of odd.
“So, it’s actually costing us more to dispose of recyclable materials than it is for regular trash, so that lead us over the past year to try to think through, ‘OK, what can we do? How can we streamline this?’ “
The city council will discuss its options on curb-side recycling at a work session which will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Warbington said recycling have traditionally been offered at no cost to residents, and he estimated a majority of Lawrenceville residents have taken advantage of curb-side recycling.
About half of a materials dropped into recycling bins can actually be recycled, however, because of issues such as a jar not being cleaned out before being put in the recycling bin or a pizza box having grease stains, according to the city manager.
Warbington said there are several options the city is looking at to ensure residents have a way to do recycling if they chose to do so.
One discussion is whether to replace curb-side pickup with a city-run recycling center where residents can bring in their recyclable materials. This facility would likely be located somewhere near the Lawrenceville Public Works Building. Lawrenceville officials have been talking to other cities in the area that have recycling centers to get information about how to operate one.
Another option is to have a subscription service where residents can call and pay a company to pick it up from their home.
“We’re not going to just totally eliminate and not have any type of option out there,” Warbington said. “If I had my preference, or recommendation from staff, it will be a transitioning into a recycling center where folks that want to recycle can recycle and then they can take it to a recycling center somewhere centrally located in the city.”
The city council’s work session will take place at City Hall, which is located at 70 S. Clayton St. It is possible a recommendation could come up for a vote later this month, or in early June, so city staff can work it into the city’s budget.
Either way, curb-side recycling will continue for the remainder of this year.
“It’s not going to happen immediately,” Warbington said. “It’s going to be a transition so obviously, through the end of this year, we will continue with our curb-side pick up. This is a discussion for 2022 and further out.”