The city of Kokomo’s curbside recycling program won’t start in April as planned because Kokomo Recycling has not been able to overcome operational problems nor make progress on installing a materials recovery facility.
The program might not be up and running until August, according to Kokomo Recycling Owner JD Mohr. Mohr approached the Howard County Recycling District Board last week about amending the contract Kokomo Recycling currently has with the district.
Kokomo Recycling picks up the large recycling bins across Howard County. The board agrees to increase the pull fees for each bin from $100 to $135, giving Kokomo Recycling the cash flow it needs to move forward with a sorting facility. The increase is contingent on a three-year contract extension that will allow the recycling district to lock in at a flat rate in the long term.
The board also agreed to retroactively pay the processing fee for recyclable materials collected by Kokomo Recycling for January and February at $4,700, under the condition that Kokomo Recycling have scales installed within 60 days so that recyclables can begin to be tracked at the facility.
Mohr’s North Market Street facility has been hampered over the past couple of months by an increased volume of recyclables, mechanical failures and the inability to weigh materials because scales have not yet been installed due to weather constraints.
“We’ve had to bring additional staff on and with that volume, more mechanical failures,” Mohr explained to the board. “Our direct costs are exceeding our revenue from the contract. Operationally we’re running at a deficit because we can’t capitalize on the material.”
Despite the setback, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said the city is still committed to implementing the curbside recycling program in 2014.
“We’re looking at probably a few months down the road,” he said. “If Kokomo Recycling’s problems aren’t resolved soon, we’ll look at other options, and we’ve kept those options open.”