Recycling debate continues

Members of Tiffin City Council did not reach a consensus after discussing the city’s recycling options at a Law and Community Planning committee Monday evening.

Councilwoman Lori Ritzler said council is supportive of a recycling program, but members must find a solution that works best for citizens and haulers.

After speaking to Vicki and Jeff Turco from Karl’s Hauling, Ritzler suggested the city purchase clear recycling bags, then residents would buy the bags to participate in the curbside recycling program.

The city then could hire one hauler to pick up recycling, Ritzler said.

Vicki Turco said the bag system would save jobs that might be lost by going to a single hauler.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said if residents must pay for bags to participate in the program, he would urge council to repeal an ordinance requiring residents to recycle.

Republic Services Senior Area Manager for Municipal Services Paul Rasmusson said the proposed system would require an additional truck, which would add costs. He said contracting with a single hauler would offset some of the cost of a separate truck and increase efficiency.

Councilman Tyler Shuff said council would have to consider whether hauling businesses would go bankrupt, putting residents out of work, if the city went to a single hauler.

Tiffin resident Mike Brown said instead of having to take his recycling to different parts of town or out of town, curbside recycling would be more convenient, even if there was an increase in cost.

He also said council would have to consider what was best for residents instead of focusing on keeping several jobs.

Tiffin resident Paul Stark also said a single provider would reduce the amount of traffic on road, increasing the life of paving projects.

Councilman Rich Focht said council has to determine what is most important for residents.

“We want to offer people more choices, we want to keep the cost down, we all think recycling is important and we don’t want to put anybody out of business,” he said. “In thinking about that, is it possible to do all those things, or are we looking at having to make some hard choices here? If we have to make hard choices, what does it boil down to for each one of us?”

Focht said he also was concerned the city is not enforcing the law requiring residents to recycle.

Law Director Brent Howard said the ordinance cannot be enforced, as the city does not have a practical program in which residents can participate. He said the city should figure out what program it wants to offer and then modify the ordinance if necessary.

Howard said an ordinance previously voted down by council that would have authorized bidding for a single-hauler recycling program could have included specifications regarding low-volume users and cost increases. In specifications, the city could require haulers to have a system that allows for low-volume users to use bags while other residents use toters.

Councilman Jim Roberts suggested looking again into Ottawa, Sandusky and Seneca County Solid Waste District drop-off points which are used by surrounding townships.

Although an OSS program might not be available to the city, Ritzler said she would invite OSS Solid Waste District Director Tim Wasserman to speak to council again.

Council is to have a committee of the whole meeting at 6 p.m. June 16 to discuss recycling and trash hauling programs and any other business to come before it.