North Huntingdon seeking garbage collection bids
North Huntingdon is seeking bids from haulers to collect garbage and recyclable materials from residences, but not from the many commercial accounts in the municipality.
The township commissioners recently authorized advertising for bids for a contract for residential service, beginning Jan. 1, 2020, and continuing through December 2023. The township hopes to award a contract in September, said Jeff Silka, township manager. The deadline for submitting bids is Aug. 7.
“The costs are going to go up,” Silka told the commissioners.
Waste Management is the hauler for residential and commercial trash collection. Residents pay $18.59 a month under the last year of a four year agreement, which contained slight increases each year. The commercial rates vary, depending on the size of the trash container and frequency of collection.
Because of the changes in the recycling market — particularly glass and plastics stamped with the numbers three through seven — the township will have to drop the requirement that the haulers recycle those materials, Silka said.
“The market for domestic recyclables has eroded,” Silka said.
The tightening of the market for recyclable plastics and glass is linked to China’s decision in 2018 to place tough restrictions on imported plastic, requiring the material to be almost 100 percent free of any contamination. China was one of the largest importers of recycled material.
While “recycling is a very noble concept,” it remains a business and there has to be a market for the materials, Silka noted.
Handling the trash hauling contract “is going to be like tiptoeing through a minefield,” Silka said.
One trash collector, Joseph Orie, owner of Big’s Sanitation of North Belle Vernon, however, said there still is a market for recyclables. Orie said he intends to submit a bid for the residential trash collection in North Huntingdon.
The South Hills Council of Government learned last year that its contract with Waste Management, covering 19 of 22 member municipalities, eliminates recycling of those plastics and glass, which contaminates other recyclables when it is broken
Whichever recyclables are collected, the municipality wants to avoid paying a recycling contamination fee, Silka said. That is a fee the hauler levies if a load of recyclables are rejected because of contamination. Waste Management has inserted such a clause in its contract with South Hills municipalities, giving it the right to charge $150 per load, plus the cost of cleaning the contaminated material and hauling it to a licensed landfill.
It will take educating the public about what they can and can not recycle, Silka said.
“Don’t put recyclables in a plastic bag. They automatically become garbage,” Silka said.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .