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Wyckoff Recycling Pickups to Double, Grass Removal Discontinued in 2013

The changes to garbage and trash collection would lead to "substantial cost savings to the township residents," according to Township Mayor Chris DePhillips.

Recycling pickups will increase to once a week, and township residents will stop having separate grass pickups, according to a new committee plan expected to save taxpayers more than $50,000 in the coming year.

The Wyckoff Township Committee gave the thumbs up to a pair of 5-year contracts with Paterson-based Gaeta Recycling at a public meeting on Dec. 4. 

Gaeta was the low bidder with the township for all levels of service, according to Township Administrator Bob Shannon. 

"The way we structured the bid to get the best price for the municipality was we made all bidders bid on all levels of service and on all years of service to be considered a responsive bid," Shannon said. "The governing body reserved right to award [contracts] in whole or part, which meant that there was a consequence if [bidders] didn't sharpen their pencils on all levels — which is what occurred."

The committee considered two versions of a garbage collection plan: one in which refuse would be collected once a week for 10 months and twice a week in July and August ($415,000); or a slimmer plan where garbage would be collected once a week, year-round ($397,000.)

In 2012, the cost off garbage collection was $459,000.

The committee selected the premium level of service, which resulted in a slightly lower overall frequency of service for township residents. As per the last contract, twice-a-week pick up occurred May through September.

"It truly is an amazing result," Mayor Chris DePhillips said, adding that the plan presented to the committee would lead to a "substantial cost savings to the township residents."

"I was really amazed at the responses we got back, I was really expecting a big increase," said Committeeman Brian Scanlan. "It's really remarkable."

Township officials decided to axe grass collection, citing major savings and a desire to move toward a more frequent — and costly — recycling program, a minimal current use, as well as saying that residents would still be able to dispose of their clippings at the Township Recycling Center.

Grass collection would have cost the township $50,000 and grass disposal was estimated at another $13,000, according to township figures. 

The township collected 243 tons of grass curbside in 2012, according to Shannon, and only about 15 percent of township residents had used the pickup service, according to Scanlan.

The township was presented with two options for a recycling plan: continue with every other week pickups at a cost of $176,000 per year, or switch to once-a-week pickups at a cost of $218,000 per year — a difference of $42,000.

"If we were to pick up [recycling] every week, I think people would be more inclined to recycle," said Committeeman Doug Christie. "A lot of people don't want to put up with the clutter in their garage... and say 'I'll just throw it out with my household waste.'"

Township officials agreed, saying that recyclables added to garbage and trash bins increase the hauling costs, raising overall costs for the township.

Committeeman Rudy Boonstra said he wanted to find ways to increase recycling, and supported the move to once-a-week recycling.

"Quite honestly, we'll never know if we don't try it," Boonstra said, while expressing concern that grass clippings would end up in the solid waste stream.

"We have to get people in the habit [of understanding,] particularly with the 2 percent cap that we're laboring under now, that there are certain services which simply don't make a lot of sense anymore," Scanlan said. "I stopped collecting my grass 10 years ago and haven't looked back, I don't think it's necessary."

According to figures provided by the township administration, here's how the numbers break down for the services chosen for the next year, in comparison to the year prior:

  • Excising grass collection and disposal costs is expected to save the township more than $60,000 in 2013, according to township officials.
  • Garbage collection for 2012 cost $459,000 compared with a proposed bid of $415,000 for 2013 — a savings of $44,000.
  • Recycling collection in 2012 cost $117,000 compared with a proposed bid of $218,000 in 2013 — an increase of $101,000.

Solid waste disposal costs are projected to shrink from $486,150 in 2012 ($69.45 per ton) to $437,500 in 2013 ($62.50 per ton) — a savings of $48,650. That cost was established on the assumption that the township will continue to dispose of 7,000 tons of solid waste (as was the case in 2012.)

Township officials believe the overall tonnage of trash may decrease as a result of the increase in recycling pick ups, further cutting solid waste disposal costs below the $48,650 figure. 

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Jim December 11, 2012 at 01:49 PM
No grass clippings collection? I can see people simply disposing the grass clippings along with their trash. And grass is heavy.
MeerAveResident December 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Would those people putting grass with their trash be the same ones who currently put out barrels of sticks for costly shipment to Pennsylvania landfills? And would those also be the people who gripe about the level of their property taxes? Maybe adults should consider the consequences of their behavior. We don't each live alone in this world.
bonozoffa December 11, 2012 at 04:01 PM
can't believe the won't be any more grass clipping collections. having to haul grass to the town center is not practical for the private homeowner who either prefers to maintain their own property or might not have the means to pay to have it landscaped each week. maybe an ambitious hauler or landscaper might offer the citizens of wyckoff some sort of pick up service that they'd pay for individually.
Katrina December 11, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Yes, the grass is heavy....but it is natural fertilizer and should be left on the lawn. Only about 15% of residents dispose of their clippings through town pickup, so let's educate them about the benefits of cut-it and leave-it rather then subsidize those folks. Many thanks to our township officials for making this cost saving and Eco-friendly decision. Incremental dollars are getting harder and harder to save.
MER December 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I support the decision to end grass clipping pickups. I leave the clippings on the lawn when possible, or bag and add them to the compost pile when the grass is too high. Also, I would support a ban on putting any yard waste (sticks, leaves, etc.) out for the trash pickup. It makes me sick when I walk my dog and see bin after bin of sticks that will end up being transported by truck long distance to a landfill!
Bill December 11, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I'll stick with every other week for recycling. A small family doesn't need weekly pickups.
Bill December 11, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I sometimes fill up a garbage can with sticks. What's the big deal?
Louisa Rock December 11, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I applaud the Township Committee for moving to once-a-week recycling! This is a very smart move. I would have preferred the extra savings from once-a-week trash pick-up year-round but I think the twice a week in July and August is a good compromise. Finally, I think it is both smart and brave to eliminate grass clipping pick-up. Only 15% of households use the service and it's time to move on. Cut and leave the grass, don't overfertilize and don't overwater. If you must collect your grass clippings, grass is amazingly easy (and quick) to compost. Let's save our precious tax dollars. Well done, Township Committee! Thank you!
Thomg December 11, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I am very happy to see this happening, it is a move in a more environmentally conscious direction and will be saving the town money. Cutting the grass and leaving it makes lawn care easier and faster for the homeowner and is also much more sustainable. I think that the sticks and branches that people are leaving out at the curb could possibly be picked up and dropped off at a central location where other homeowners could collect them for free and use them in their fireplaces in the winter or back yard fire pits in the summer? I know my family is always looking for firewood for our fireplace and sticks are very important for getting a fire burning and keeping it going. It saves homeowners money on heating homes in the winter and reduces the dirty fossil fuel use. Just a thought.
Matt Smith December 11, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Utilizing grass clippings to fertilize your lawn and making curbside recycling more accessible are 2 positive steps forward for our township. Not only will the new contract save us money, but perhaps more importantly, it's a sign that our town council is getting serious about sustainability and setting a positive example for our children and the health of the world they will inherit. Congratulations to our council, DPW, Environmental Commission and Green Team for working together to get this done!
k brown December 12, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I guess two sergeants in detective bureau finally raises its ugly face. Nice going t/c to be fiscally conservative!!!!!

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