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By Moriah Story, FCFP intern

CHAMBERSBURG — Recycling changes are coming to Chambersburg next year, but residents probably won’t even realize anything has changed.

That’s because residents will still put all of their recyclable materials together in one container. Those recyclables will still be picked up and the emptied containers left to be refilled. Just like it has happened for the past four years.

During that time, Waste Management has been responsible for the collection and disposal of the recyclable materials in the borough. Members of the community have been pleased with the way the recycling system has run under the Waste Management contract, and the quality of recycled products has risen under this program.

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With the Borough’s four-year contract coming to an end, interested vendors were given the opportunity to bid on Chambersburg’s recycling. But because of an increasingly low global market for recyclable materials, vendors weren’t interested in partnering with the Borough to continue the current program.

Despite the Borough’s positive relationship with Waste Management, significant changes would be made to the existing program if the Town Council opted to continue contracting Chambersburg’s recycling to Waste Management.

This is something Council members would like to avoid, council decided this week.

“We’ve had very successful curbside commingled recycling for four years. Everybody really likes the program … The last thing we wanted to do was to end the program and make people start sorting like they used to … We really wanted to find a program that would mimic the Waste Management Program.”

Jeffrey Stonehill – Borough Manager

Things Will Change, but Stay the Same

Ultimately, the Council decided to transition back to a system that places the collection of recyclable materials into the hands of the Borough itself.

Assistant Borough Manager David Finch explains proposed changes to Chambersburg's single-stream recycling program to Borough Council Monday night. (Photo by Moriah Story)
Assistant Borough Manager David Finch explains proposed changes to Chambersburg’s single-stream recycling program to Borough Council Monday night. (Photo by Moriah Story)

The collected materials will be disposed of by McCardle Recycling, run by waste consultant Kevin McCardle, with whom the Borough has entered a three-year contract. The transfer from Waste Management to McCardle Recycling will take place on January 6, 2020.

“He will take the recycling and he will find a place to take it,” explained Assistant Manager David Finch. “It may not be the same place every time. He’ll look for the best deal. So he can be flexible like that. That’s why he’s able to do something that maybe Waste Management wasn’t.”

Because of McCardle’s contacts with multiple facilities in the realm of recycling, he is confident that he will be able to properly dispose of all of Chambersburg’s recyclable materials, even difficult waste products like glass or certain types of plastic.

Through this partnership with McCardle Recycling and the Borough’s own sanitation system, residents of the Chambersburg Borough likely will not notice significant changes in the recycling program.

Because the Borough will be responsible for all curbside commingled recycling pickup, a new recycling vehicle must be purchased, Finch told Council. Two new personnel will need to be hired, and a temporary transfer station must be built at the Borough Farm.

With that in place by the first of the year, McCardle Recycling will be able to begin its job of removing the collected recyclables.

Although this solution may seem like a pricey alternative to Waste Management, Finch said the new program will eventually result in significant savings once the one-time costs are paid off.

These costs will not affect the current tax rate or trash rate in the Borough.

Overall, the Council believes that the Chambersburg community will be pleased with the new recycling system, officials said.

“The Borough of Chambersburg recycling will therefore not significantly change under this system,” summarized Council President Heath Talhelm. “We want to remain a green community and we do so with our wholesale electricity purchases, our commitment to the environment, and this sanitation program.”

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