Of the estimated population of 25,465 people in Zanesville, less than 10 percent of waste collection stops within city limits utilize recycling pick-up with their waste collection.
According to Zanesville’s Sanitation Division, there are about 1,526 waste collection stops within the city per day. With recycling pick-up on the same day as waste pick-up, there’s about 150 stops that actually put out recycling.
Within the city of Zanesville, the average amount of recyclables recovered from one person equates to roughly 0.14 pounds per day, which is significantly lower than the national average of 1.12 pounds from one person per day, according to the Automated Waste and Recycle Collection Project outline from the City of Zanesville.
“When compared to national norms, the existing waste and recycling program is not effective in recovering the recyclables generated within the City,” the document states.
In order to increase recycling practices within the City, Zanesville is applying for the 2019 Community Development Recycling Grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The plan for the project is to eliminate the use of the blue plastic bags that people can use to recycle and instead place their recyclables in totes. Those totes will be provided to about half of the waste collection stops, free of charge, to encourage more recycling, Scott Bryant, Deputy Director of Public Services for the City of Zanesville, said.
“The fully operational recyclable collection program will reduce the landfill waste stream by diverting more to recycling,” the project document states. “This could potentially result in a savings of approximately $195,000 in disposal fees and $100,000 – $150,000 in labor considering that some of the current collection costs would be dedicated to greater demands on recycling collection.”
People chosen to receive the bins will be based upon those who already utilize the recycling pick-up option by using the blue recycling bags. After that, the totes will be distributed to areas that have very low recycling participation rates, Bryant said.
The total cost of the project is $250,000. If approved for the grant, which is worth $200,000, the City’s Sanitation Division would foot the remaining $50,000.
An ordinance allowing the proper city official to apply for the grant, which has a deadline of Feb. 1, 2019, was passed as an emergency ordinance by Zanesville City Council on Dec. 10.
Bryant said the ordinance was passed as an emergency to waive the standard three-readings and 30-day waiting period process due to the quickly approaching deadline.
If awarded with the grant, the City will be notified on May 1, 2019. The project will go into effect following the notification with manufacturing, labeling, distribution and education of the totes.
Educational materials including both a pre-survey prior to receiving the tote, and a post-survey after the totes are delivered will be distributed to each person receiving a bin, Bryant said.
While the decision will ultimately be up to the county whether or not to leave the community recycling bins in the city if the grant were to be awarded, Bryant said he doesn’t anticipate those county bins being taken away as only half the waste stops in the city will receive a recycling tote.
Muskingum County Recycling Supervisor Mark Schneider said he does not plan to take the recycling trailers the county provides out of the city locations, regardless of if the grant is awarded or not.