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Easton keeps same hauler for trash and recycling, but says recycling habits need to change

LehighValleyLive.com logo LehighValleyLive.com 10/18/2020 By Kurt Bresswein, The Express-Times, Easton, Pa

Easton is sticking with the same company for collection and transport of trash and recycling, under a three-year contract approved by city council that is not projected -- for now -- to cost residents any more out of pocket.

What residents and businesses put out for recycling, however, will have to start changing due to limits on what is being accepted by recyclable processors, according to city officials.

The hauling contract with Republic Services of New Jersey LLC, doing business as Raritan Valley Disposal, will cost the city about $500,000 more than the current contract that expires at year’s end, Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said.

Panto in his proposed budget that is before city council does not call for passing any of that increased cost onto constituents. He anticipates revenues through the end of 2020 coming in better than projected, which should cover the cost. The final call, though, is up to council, and Councilman Peter Melan has suggested consideration of a monthly increase of a few dollars.

Republic was the low-bidder on the hauling contract, according to city Public Works Director David Hopkins. The contract can be mutually extended for three consecutive one-year terms.

City council in voting Wednesday also approved a contract with Waste Management for processing of the city’s recyclable materials. That deal, too, is for three years, renewable for three successive one-year terms.

The business of recycling has changed across the United States in response to China’s refusal to continue taking on the nation’s recyclables for processing, Panto said.

That means recyclables have to be cleaner, Panto said: Throw out with the trash those greasy cardboard pizza boxes, for example, and rinse out salad dressing bottles and other containers.

Some recyclables continue to have value, Hopkins noted, mainly plastics No. 1 and 2, aluminum (not foil) and tin.

The trick is to ensure it’s clean. Any contaminated item in a bin of recycling means everything in the bin is trashed, Panto said.

The city is planning an education campaign to stress the message of cleaning recyclables, officials said.

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Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com.

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©2020 The Express-Times, Easton, Pa.

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