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Cities talking to St. Peters about helping them out with recycling

St. Charles County municipalities have begun to talk about what to do if “single-stream” recycling goes away.

Lake Saint Louis City Administrator Paul Markworth said Sept. 6 that his city, O’Fallon and Wentzville have begun preliminary discussions with St. Peters, which has a recycling facility and provides dual-stream recycling to its residents.

St. Peters officials also acknowledged that preliminary discussions have occurred but nothing has been finalized.

Markworth said St. Peters might be able to help take recyclable material for the short term; however, making it into a long-term solution may require changes in what materials can be recycled. That action could prompt an education program for residents.

Single-stream recycling involves residents placing a number of materials, including newspapers, cans, cardboard and other material, into a container or cart that is picked up at a home’s curbside.

Dual-stream recycling involves sorting materials to keep paper and cardboard separate from containers, including glass and plastic containers and cans. Some of the benefits include lower levels of contamination, higher quality and more valuable recovered material as well as lower costs.

In recent months, some companies that accept recyclable materials, such as Resource Management, which has a processing facility in Earth City, has decided they will no longer accept curbside recycling materials.  Single-stream recycling may be universally gone in the future, Markworth said.

Markworth said processors don’t want paper that has gotten wet or contaminated by food residue.  An educational program may go into place to “make sure folks clean mayonnaise out of mayonnaise jars.”

People often view recycling containers as second garbage cans and if the recyclable material gets too contaminated, the city could get kicked out of the program, he said.

Markworth said city staff has found items such as shoes or pillows in recycling containers.

Lake Saint Louis officials don’t anticipate any serious discussions with St. Peters until after Sept. 17.  And the city may not do anything about its current trash contract until it settles this recycling issue.

In January, the city approved a three-year contract with Meridian Waste Solutions, which began working in the city in March. But Mayor Kathy Schweikert, aldermen and city staff said at a Board of Alderman work session on June 18 that they were hearing widespread complaints from city residents about the service. Thus, the city decided to survey its residents about the service Meridian was providing.

Markworth said about 670 residents responded with 60 percent of the respondents saying they had some contact with Meridian whether for a complaint or request for service.

The company scored a 3.2 approval rating on a scale of one to five.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said they liked same-day pickup for yard waste and recyclables, but 75 percent also said no to paying for better service.

City residents pay $16.75 a month, which is less than other municipalities in which recycling and yard waste is included, Markworth said.

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