Kokomo currently pays $38.50 per ton to dispose of trash, costing $981,750. Should the city divert 35 percent of those materials to recycling center, it would decrease those tipping fees by $343,612.
“Every ton that we recycle, it saves $38.50 in landfill tipping fees and it also extends the life of the landfills,” Goodnight said. “Those costs are going to continue to go up.”
That’s why the Kokomo Board of Public Works voted to approve a contract with Kokomo Recycle that calls for a floating rate for recycling materials. The rate for the first 5,124 tons is $35 per ton and will decrease to $31 per ton once 15,370 tons is reached.
Earlier in the year, the Howard County Recycling District voted to provide the city $200,000 out of its $850,000 reserve for the purchase of equipment in its first year. The district will also pay Kokomo $50,000 per year over the next four years to operate the recycling program.
The city would use the funds from the recycling district to cover a portion of the start-up costs of the curbside recycling program. It also will purchase 96-gallon recycling totes at an estimated cost of $800,000 to $1 million.
The totes, which will provide residents with information on which items can be recycled, will be picked up every other week on the city’s regularly scheduled trash pickup day. Goodnight said Kokomo will likely use city personnel to pick up the recycled materials, but it could use a private contractor.
Providing the totes, which will include tips on what items can be recycled should allow residents to transition into the curbside program without much of a learning curve, said Kokomo Parks Superintendent Randy Morris, who has played a major part in the organization of the curbside program.
“The totes will include general items so that we capture as many of the items as possible to recycle,” he said. “The education piece is extremely important because there are a lot of items that are recyclable that people just don’t realize.”