The city of Rosenberg’s recycling program, operated by Republic Services, could be suspended due to residents’ continued inclusion of non-recyclable materials, which contaminates the loads of recycled materials and forces them to be disposed of in a landfill, city officials said in a Jan. 29 news release.
Rigo Calzoncin, the city’s executive director of public services, said during a Jan. 26 city council workshop meeting that Republic Services told the city its losses were “substantial enough to warrant a full review of the recycling services currently being provided by all residential customers.” The city said in its news release that it is “once again in jeopardy of losing its recycling privileges” with Republic Services and is asking Rosenberg residents to complete an online survey about their recycling use.
The survey will remain open until noon Friday, Feb. 12, and can be accessed on Rosenberg’s social media pages, the website at rosenbergtx.gov/recycling or by the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RosenbergRecyclingSurvey.
A list of questions submitted to David Aguilar, the municipal manager of Republic Services, was not answered by press time.
Rosenberg is in the fourth year of a 5-year contract with Republic Services that expires Sept. 30, 2022. As of Oct. 1, 2020, the residential rates for polycarts, which store recyclables, are $17.76 per month and $17.03 per month for residents ages 65 and older.
Aguilar said during the Jan. 26 meeting that the city suspended recycling in April due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the amount of “downgraded” recycling that was contaminated and no longer recyclable grew dramatically throughout 2020, according to data Aguilar presented to the council. The peak percentage of contaminated recycling tonnage occurred in May, at 80 percent, and the peak mass of the contaminated material was in September, at 202.84 tons. Any load that is contaminated by more than 30 percent is enough to render the entire load a waste, he said.
“Now we’re faced with this, getting rid of recycling, because people have been putting it off and have been cavalier about it,” Rosenberg Mayor Will Benton said during the Jan. 26 meeting. “Let’s not take this too casually.”
Aguilar said Republic’s new proposal is to pick up recycling and garbage with the same truck, adding, “When this comes up in 2022, we can address it again.”
The cost to Republic to transport the extra recycling to landfills is about $150 per ton, he said.
Rosenberg City Council member Marc Morales of District 4 said it was important to improve residents’ education about recycling and waste management and to continue emphasizing its bilingual outreach.
“We are different socioeconomically than Sugar Land,” Morales said. “We need to focus on those people who need to be aware that their trash will not be picked up, especially those with no lids.”
For questions about recycling or the survey, the city said residents can call Rosenberg Customer Service at 832-595-3400 or visit rosenbergtx.gov/recycling.