would directly finance the purchase of equipment and other
start-up costs for municipalities which collect trash from their
residents while the companies would be able to recoup some of
those expenses through state tax credits.
Solid Waste Authority would process the collected recyclables
for resale without imposing any 'tipping fee' on haulers or
individuals who bring the material to its processing facility.
Haulers would be free to process the waste themselves -- as some
large companies now do elsewhere -- or to sell it to commercial
presumed that the authority's income from selling the material
would usually cover the cost of operating the processing
facility. At times when unfavorable market conditions prevent
that, the facility would be subsidized through a fund created by
tapping revenue from licenses which all haulers must have.
esoteric source of revenue discussed during an all-day
workshop-style meeting of the gubernatorial council on July 22
was to impose a tax on items, such as plastic bottles or
aluminum cans, which are obvious recyclables. That thread of
conversation was dropped when it was pointed out that, no matter
how presented, it would be a sales tax in a state where a sales
tax is anathema.
not to say that the approach crafted by votes among the eight
members of the council at the session are the last -- or
anywhere near the last -- word on the subject. There are,
instead, a start toward molding the results of a feasibility
study produced by the waste authority under terms of an
agreement with the council and the Department of Natural
Resources & Environmental Control into a final report and draft
legislation for presentation to Governor Ruth Ann Minner and the
General Assembly by the end of the year.
call is hers and the lawmakers'.
council's approach does seem to address what emerged as the main
sticking points as elements of the preliminary report and an
early version of legislation came together.
trash-hauling firms oppose any system that would grant a single
company exclusive right to collect either recyclables or all
kinds of trash in a given geographic area or community. They
argue that they would be at a disadvantage in competing with
larger firms in a bidding process to acquire those franchises.
presented, the arrangement would require firms to collect
recyclables from the same households which engage them to
collect other trash or, at present, all their trash. A company
-- presumably a small company -- which did not want to get into
the additional business could contract with another firm to do
it. The waste authority would be a fall-back collector in areas
where no private firm wanted the business.
would be set as they are now -- by competition. Although that is
considered more equitable than what would likely happen if
exclusive franchises were granted, it was agreed there is likely
to be disparity among various areas of the state.
estimate presented in the preliminary report put the cost of
collection at between $7 and $8.50 a month depending upon
whether all recyclables could be put into a single container or
they would have to be divided into two containers. Also having
yard waste collected would add about $3 a month to those
the hauling firms collect from their customers as part of an
overall monthly or bimonthly fee for service would eliminate the
earlier proposal that each county government be assessed an
overall fee which they, in turn, would have to pass through as
individual fees or a component of their real estate tax. New
Castle County officials are understandably opposed to that.
more politically sensitive problem addressed by the suggested
financing arrangement is what to do about municipalities which
say they cannot finance the cost of getting into recycling.
Wilmington Mayor James Baker has said flat-out that the city
cannot afford to do so. Newark and Dover also provide municipal
Mayor Donald Mulrine, who is a member of the advisory council,
told the meeting that the problem lies mainly in getting
started. If the state would finance that, the savings from
having to dispose of less trash at landfills might offset the
cost of the additional collection runs that would be required.
That should work, he said, if the waste authority is prevented
from requiring a fee at the recycling facility. In any event,
"we would be on our own" after a one-time infusion of state
money, he said.
proposed phasing in the mandatory plan which would give the
legislature the more palatable option of spreading the start-up
cost over two years. New Castle County would start in the first
year with Kent and Sussex to follow in the second.
agreed by council members that recycling be a statewide
obligation and that it be mandatory for every household. Those
in rural areas who take their trash to landfills would have to
take recyclables in separate containers. Yet to be decided is
what to do about those who live in sparsely populated areas
where separate roadside pickups may not be economically