WINCHESTER — Frederick County has negotiated a revised recycling contract that will keep most of the county’s recycling program in tact until the end of the year.
On Thursday, the county announced a new deal had been struck with Southern Scrap, its recycling vendor. On June 13, the firm gave notification that it was terminating its contract with the county in 60 days.
The county, which operates the Regional Landfill on Landfill Road and 11 refuse convenience centers, has been sending mixed paper, cardboard, steel, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles, jugs and shopping bags to Southern Scrap on Stine Lane for recycling, with no processing fee.
Under the new contract, Southern Scrap will not take any plastics from the county for recycling. But it will take other materials through Dec. 31, with an $80 per ton fee charged for cardboard and mixed paper, to be paid by the county. Metal cans will be accepted at no charge. Glass will not be accepted. Southern Scrap stopped accepting glass from the county in November of 2016.
The county will accept plastics for recycling until Aug. 13. If another way isn’t found to recycle plastics by that time, they will go into the landfill.
“Recycle what you can at this time; continue taking your cardboard and mixed paper to the proper container and drop off the metal cans as you have always done,” Solid Waste Manager Gloria Puffinburger said in a Thursday news release. “As of August 13, we will no longer take plastics unless a solution is found in the interim. We encourage people to reduce their usage of all materials and while shopping to consider how the packaging of the product can be handled. Reducing our impact is key.”
Under the new arrangement, the county also will lose its rebate for all recyclables. Puffinburger previously said the county gets about $50,000 a year from the sale of recyclable materials.
Joe Wilder, the county’s Public Works Director, said the new agreement “is a short-term solution which will give us some time to examine options for moving forward. We can absorb the associated costs through December with no additional funding, although there may be a need for funding for the management of plastic.”
The county is currently exploring other ways to recycle its plastic. SCS Engineers is also conducting a study for the Regional Landfill that will look at the benefits, challenges and associated costs of various short-term and long-term options for managing recyclables for Frederick and Clarke counties and the city of Winchester. The study is slated for completion in late September.
Also, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission plans to do a study on regional recycling options for localities in the NSVRC area, which would examine the feasibility of creating a centralized recycling facility for Winchester and Frederick, Clarke, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties.
In the meantime, the county is accepting bids for a new recycling vendor. The invitation to bid was posted Monday. Bids are due July 18. Gainesboro Supervisor J. Douglas McCarthy said at Wednesday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the county has already gotten some interest.
Contact Frederick County Public Information Officer Karen Vacchio at 540-722-8307 for more information.