Lake Saint Louis may be on the verge of ending how its residents recycle.
Several months from now the city’s trash contractor, Meridian Waste Solutions, could be sending a limited amount of recycling material to a St. Peters recycling plant for processing. That may make Lake Saint Louis the first county municipality to work with St. Peters, which is the only county municipality with a recycling plant.
Lake Saint Louis’ Board of Aldermen was briefed at its Oct 1 meeting by city staff and Derek Standley, an official with Meridian, about the changes anticipated with the city’s recycling program.
“St. Peters is willing to take the material stream from Lake Saint Louis,” Standley said. “[But] we will have to modify it.”
Changes are required because Meridian allows “single-stream recycling” and St. Peters requires “dual-stream recycling.” Additionally, single-stream recycling, which has been in place throughout much of the United States, may be going away. That form of recycling involves residents placing some materials – newspapers, cans, cardboard and other material in a single container or cart. The collection simplifies recycling for the homeowner but complicates it for the processor. Mixed materials often can result in high levels of contamination making the processed recycling less desirable by countries like China, where much of what the U.S. recycles has been sent in the last 40 years.
“They shipped us goods, we shipped them back our recyclables,” Standley said. “It worked out well.” But China shut off taking more recyclable material from the United States in January; then, materials were sent to Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
“If you’ve seen photos of those places it’s horrendous,” Standley said. He noted that the recycling business will be rebuilt but it will take time.Dual-stream recycling involves sorting materials to keep paper and cardboard separated from other materials, such as glass, plastic and cans. Some of the benefits of dual-stream recycling include lower levels of contamination, higher quality, more value for recovered materials and lower costs.
In recent months, some local companies, such as Resource Management that has a recycling processing facility in Earth City, have decided they will no longer accept curbside [single-stream] recycling.
Standley said Lake Saint Louis residents will be allowed to use curbside recycling for some plastic and clean aluminum, tin and steel cans; however, they will have to drop off corrugated cardboard boxes and mixed paper in containers that will be set up at “big-box” stores in the county. There also may be containers set up for glass but glass poses a safety issue with processors and is heavy, so it’s uncertain whether it will be accepted.
Cans will have to be rinsed out and cleaned. Plastics classified as Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 [numbers found on the containers] will be allowed.
There has been some discussion that the change to dual-stream recycling could occur in November; however, Standley said it’s more likely to happen around Dec. 1 because residents have to be educated and other details have to be worked out.
St. Peters is expected to send Lake Saint Louis a Memorandum of Understanding in a couple of weeks for the city to sign, allowing St. Peters to take Lake Saint Louis’ recyclable materials. A similar memorandum of understanding may be sent to O’Fallon. Wentzville and other cities are discussing similar arrangements with St. Peters.