County told it can make money recycling paper

Staff reporter

There is a market for paper and cardboard and a Hutchinson milling company is willing to buy it.

Sonoco, LLC owns and operates the paper mill and wants recycled paper.

To secure fiber for its business, the company is offering Marion County a paper baler for $1 per year and will purchase recycled paper for $35 to $60 per ton.

The only catch with the contract is the county has to produce a minimum of eight tons of paper per year during the five-year contract. If the county does not collect that amount, Sonoco will come and take the baler.

The other catch is how the county will collect the paper recyclables from residents.

Here's how the proposed program could work.

As clean newspaper, cardboard, and mixed paper comes to the county's transfer station, it can be pulled and separated from regular household waste.

Cardboard can be passed through a baler which then is tied with wire and stacked. Newspaper and all other paper can be placed in boxes that can hold 500-600 pounds.

When a truckload of baled and boxed paper is collected, Sonoco will send a trailer to collect the recycled paper, leaving another 50 or 60 boxes for paper.

Marty Kowalski of Sonoco spoke with Marion County Commission and transfer station manager Rollin Schmidt at Monday's meeting. He said approximately 40, four-foot square boxes would fill a semi load with some square bales of cardboard.

A reduction of paper products means less trash to be hauled to a landfill and a possible cost savings to the county.

The company has agreements with other counties and cities throughout the state. Most recently, a lease agreement was made with Sunflower RC&D in Harper County where three balers will be delivered.

It is unknown how much paper recyclables will be collected from Marion County but Kowalski said 2,000 to 3,500 residents can produce approximately 100 tons per year.

A certificate of insurance for $10,000 would be required from the county for the replacement cost of a baler.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he was aware of some businesses in the county that have purchased balers for cardboard but wasn't sure if the businesses were receiving revenue from recycling. He asked Schmidt if there was a lot of paper products in the loads brought to the transfer station that could be recycled. Schmidt said there were times when haulers brought in clean paper that could be pulled from the waste stream. Other times, the paper would be too dirty to be recycled.

He continued that there was sufficient room in the transfer station to store 50 boxes for recycled paper. The baler could be operated in the center bay.

Holes in interior walls that had been filled before the county purchased the building could be re-opened to transfer the recycled paper from the tipping floor to the baler and boxes.

Kowalski said his company would pay $50-60 per ton for cardboard and newspaper and $35-40 per ton for mixed paper.

And then the discussion shifted to picking up the recycleables.

"There is a lot of paper being generated. It's just a matter of getting it to the transfer station," commissioner Dan Holub said.

The commissioners said they liked the proposal but needed to figure out logistics.

Proposal from Stutzman

Schmidt then presented a proposal from Stuzman Refuse Disposal Inc. for recycling paper and container products.

The rate structures were set up for cities with more than 250 households at a rate of $2.25 per month per household and pickup every other week.

For cities with less than 250 households, the same rate of $2.25 per household would be charged but pickup would be once a month.

All households in the cities would be charged whether residents participated or not.

The company currently serves county residents, picking up recycleables at a rate of $6.50 per month for once a month service.

"How do we require city residents and not county residents to participate?" Holub asked. "Is Stutzman willing to go to every rural resident?"

Schmidt responded, "No."

Dallke commented that Peabody residents already are paying for the service.