have the votes," state Senator David McBride told Delaforum
after the natural resources committee which he chairs deadlocked
two-to-two on a vote to bring the goal-setting measure he
sponsored to the floor. It requires three votes to report a bill
out of the five-member committee.
he had won the preliminary vote, he acknowledged, he has run out
of time to put a law on the books this year. Senate approval
would be by no means certain and the House of Representatives
appears even less likely to go along. McBride's measure is not
on Governor Ruth Ann Minner's legislative wish list.
authority opposed enactment during the committee hearing on June
"The authority doesn't have the
resources. ... There is no way the authority can do this,"
testified. He was referring to what he described as "an unfunded
mandate" to increase the residential recycling rate to 30% and
commercial and other recycling to 50% in three years. The
measure, he pointed out, provides neither money nor enforcement
Earlier in the day, however,
Parkowski, the authority's general counsel, told the Recycling
Public Advisory Council that draft legislation is nearly
finished that will accomplish the goal or something close to it.
And, he said, McBride is at the front of a queue of state
lawmakers already lining up to sponsor it.
"This is for real," Parkowski said.
"A lot of people are skeptical, [but] the authority will do what
is necessary to sell it."
At McBride's committee hearing,
representatives of the League of Women Voters, Green Delaware
and the Delaware Nature Society testified in favor of enactment
of his legislation, primarily for its value as a 'first step'
toward implementation of effective statewide mandatory
recycling. Both John Hughes,
Waste Authority expects to begin extending its fee-based
recyclables collection program beyond Brandywine Hundred
and Newark by the end of summer, according to Rich von
Stetten, manager of recycling.
It is investing in
two $95,000 trucks and hiring six full-time drivers in
order to do so, he said.
There presently are
1,400 customers, who pay $6 a month for the service. The
goal is to eventually sign up 10,000 participants
throughout New Castle County.
recycling operations budget totals $4 million, but Von
Stetten said he could not say how much of that is
earmarked for the collection program.
But, he said,
"we're definitely serious about this."
natural resources and environmental control, and Paul Wilkinson,
chairman of the advisory council, also endorsed the measure.
extensive draft legislation new being prepared will be the key
component in a report the authority is producing under an
agreement with the Department of Natural Resources &
Environmental Control and the gubernatorial advisory council to
conduct a definitive study of the feasibility of mandatory
recycling and how to administer it.
report is now expected to be completed by August, about two
months behind the original schedule. It will be subject to three
or four public hearings, probably in September and early
October, before being put into final form for presentation to
the governor and the legislature.
said the draft legislation, based on the experience of various
jurisdictions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is further along
and its general approach is tentatively set.
would be required to separate recyclable material from other
household trash and set it out, probably on a weekly basis, for
pickup. Recyclables would be collected by either public works
departments in municipalities or refuse-hauling companies under
contract. The companies would have exclusive collection rights
for that material in defined districts, but would continue to
operate in competition with each other as regards collection of
garbage and non-recyclable trash.
the haulers would be able to sell recyclables where they could,
the authority would provide a backup for their disposal. Going
on the assumption that volatile secondary markets cannot be
counted upon to provide steady revenue to finance the operation
nor ever to cover its full cost, residents would be required to
pay for the service.
Preference in that regard, Parkowski said, would be to include
that cost as part of county property tax. That would be the most
efficient way to collect the money while making it a 'hidden'
charge but one that is subsidized as a deduction against federal
and state income tax, he explained.
is likely to amount to something in the range of $75 to $100 a
year, he said. The typical middle class household generates
about 25 lbs. of recyclable trash a week.
cautioned that the plan is almost certain to be controversial.
Residents who are not among the admitted minority of recycling
enthusiasts are not likely to relish having to pay and smaller
hauling companies traditionally oppose having exclusive
districts, which they see as a threat to survival of their
companies, B.F.I. and Waste Management, account for 75% of the
market in areas in Delaware where trash hauling is private
enterprise. Two other companies, Independent Disposal Service
and Tri-State Waste, make up the second tier of the business
with 31 small, mostly family-owned firms handling the rest.
Enforcement remains a somewhat ill-defined component of
mandatory recycling, even in jurisdictions where there are
programs which are considered to be successful, the advisory
council was told. The most effective methods seem to be
education and persuasive tactics, such as haulers leaving
unseparated trash uncollected, with fines reserved for
conspicuous and repeat violators.
wants to have a trash Gestapo," Parkowski said. But he added
that a reasonable middle ground has to be employed "if we don't
want to see more stuff dumped by the side of the road or in the
woods than we have now."