�WALLA WALLA -- By February of next year residents will have a new curbside recycling service that will include a 96-gallon recycling container, similar to the current curbside trash container, and cost $3.64 per customer per month.
The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday, with all members present, to authorize a nine-year contract with Pasco-based Basin Disposal of Washington.
Basin Disposal will cover the startup and operating costs for the service, which will include the collection of paper, plastic and cans, but not glass, in a commingled system.
Basin Disposal manager Darrick Dietrich and local environmental activist Sandra Cannon pointed out that commingled systems promote greater participation by customers, but the drawback is that glass cannot be collected because of cross-contamination between broken glass and other material.
"That's the component that people are not understating. It's the contamination ... once you go to commingled collection it precludes the glass," Cannon said, adding that commingled recycling systems are the norm in Washington and across the nation.
The containers will be distributed starting mid-January to all single-family residential customers and multifamily units of 10 apartments or fewer.
The city might also go with a biweekly recycling service, which would reduce the monthly cost to $3.15 per customer.
The current plan is to offer one size container for all residents, but Cannon said she hopes the city would rethink that option and provide those who create less trash with smaller containers and possibly a break in their rate.
"The public needs to have the option of going to a smaller container, but the limitation is going to be the automatic arm," Cannon said. And she previously had tried to work out a smaller trash container system with the city, but the mechanical arm on the trucks would not accommodate the small container.
Currently, the city picks up recyclable material in green bins that are placed beside trash containers, also using a commingled system.
City officials have yet to determine what they will do with the thousands of bins that it will no longer need after Feb.1, when Basin Disposal will begin its curbside recycling service.