MADEIRA BEACH — The city will pay more for recycling as profits from the sale of recyclable items continue to drop, and the effort becomes more costly, a representative of a solid waste services company says.
Ian Boyle of Waste Connections had that message for city commissioners at their Aug. 27 workshop.
Boyle said since he last spoke to the commission on the problems with recycling a year ago, “the issues haven’t gone away.” They have gotten worse, Boyle said. At that time, 70 percent of the materials taken in had value to recycle, he said. Today, only 21 percent has any value.
Boyle gave the commission a report that showed the loss in value of frequently recycled materials. Mixed paper, which makes up about a third of recycled materials, has had a 100 percent loss in value. Glass, the second most commonly recycled material, “has never had any value,” he said.
Cardboard, which makes up just over 10 percent of recycled items, has had a 76 percent decrease in value.
The issue, Boyle said, is finding end users to buy the recycled materials. Almost two-thirds was going to China. Now, he said, “China has cut off all flow of recyclable material.” He said that some recycling companies are setting up shop in other parts of the world.
Processing costs are also going up.
“It’s been a tough time for us,” Boyle said.
The recycling market “will never get back to where it used to be,” Boyle said, but “eventually it’s going to kind of level off.”
Thomas said a lot of municipalities are having to make a hard decision on whether to keep recycling. People like it, he said, “but are we willing to pay the increased costs?”
Stephanie Watson, program manager of Recycling Outreach at Pinellas County Solid Waste Department, said the county landfill is filling up and will be full in about 80 years.
“One of our goals,” Watson said, is to encourage residents, in addition to recycling, “to focus on creating less waste.”
Watson said recycling should be continued because “we have a population that wants to recycle.”
It is important that residents know what items to recycle and the right way to recycle.
Following the recycling discussion, John Hendricks of Madeira Beach said the city should discontinue recycling, for now.
“Everybody wants to recycle, but the fact is, there’s no market for it,” Hendricks said. “The company that does the recycling is telling us there’s no market for recycled materials. Most of it is going to landfills, being burned or stored in warehouses.”
“As much as we’d like to recycle, it’s time to let it die, and take another look at it in a couple of years if the market comes back,” Hendricks said.
City manager contract approved
A contract with City Manager Robert Daniels was quickly and unanimously approved, as commission members continued united in their support of the city’s new leader.
It is a two-year agreement, longer than the one-year contracts usually offered city officials. Daniels will be paid $125,000 a year, which is less than former City Manager Jonathan Evans’ $145,000 starting salary. But Daniels will get five weeks of vacation; Evans had four.
“That is a fair offer,” said Commissioner Deby Weinstein.
The two-year contract is important, she said.
“I think that when a city manager is doing a good job; everybody should be able to work together.”
Commissioner Nancy Hodges said Daniels’ contract is “fair and open and up-front.”
“It’s a pretty fair deal,” said Commissioner Doug Andrews.
The contract was approved 5-0, followed by applause from the audience.
Live-aboard boat regulation
A memo accompanying a new ordinance regulating live-aboard vessels says the boats “are a growing issue in city waters and pose a threat to public health and safety.”
Daniels said there are a large number of boaters who live on their vessels in the city, and they move from one jurisdiction to another. Similar ordinances regulating the boats are needed in the beach communities to aid the Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Coast Guard in enforcement, Daniels said.
A new city ordinance regulating such use of boat was created with the assistance of Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit Sgt. Richard Trump and county officials, Daniels said. It is patterned after a similar ordinance in Treasure Island that has worked well, he said.
The new law allows such boat to be docked in the city after obtaining a permit from City Hall. They can stay there, after pumping out their sewage, for up to 72 hours, and can come back 30 days later.
Also, the live-aboard vessels cannot be unoccupied for more than eight hours. That rule should cut down the number of derelict boats in the city, Daniels said.
The ordinance regulating the vessels will be further discussed and voted on at an upcoming commission meeting. It will become law if passed after two readings.