The city of Kokomo is preparing to debut a curbside recycling program city officials hope can significantly reduce the community's trash-disposal costs.
Kokomo's new curbside recycling program will roll out in April in the city of about 57,000 residents. Workers at local recycling centers will separate glass, cardboard and other recyclable materials for reuse by manufacturers while the rest is sent off to landfills, the Kokomo Tribune reported.
Mayor Greg Goodnight said Kokomo spends nearly $1 million every year on landfill tipping fees paid for each garbage truck that arrives at a landfill with trash from the north-central Indiana city about 60 miles north of Indianapolis.
Goodnight hopes the switch to a curbside recycling program will divert between 35 percent and 40 percent of the materials sent to landfills in its first year.
If Kokomo, which was projected to dispose of about 25,500 tons of trash this year, can divert about 35 percent of that trash to recycling centers, it would cut the city's annual tipping fees by about $343,000.
"Every ton that we recycle, it saves $38.50 in landfill tipping fees and it also extends the life of the landfills," Goodnight told the newspaper. "Those costs are going to continue to go up."
The Kokomo Board of Public Works approved a contract with Kokomo Recycle that calls for a floating rate for recycling materials.
The rate for the first 5,124 tons is $35 per ton and will decrease to $31 per ton once 15,370 tons is reached.
The city's commitment will result in significant upgrades to Kokomo Recycle, which will spend a $2.5 million to upgrade its facility, contingent on a 10-year commitment and a five-year contract with the recycling district.
Company President JD Mohr said the upgrades could allow Kokomo Recycle to become a regional recycling hub for surrounding communities on two separate shifts during the day.
Currently, Kokomo Recycle processes between 1,500 and 2,000 tons of recyclable materials per day.
Because Kokomo Recycle's volume has continued to grow, Mohr said he engaged the city and the county's recycling district about partnering.
"The timing just kind of worked out," he said. "(The city was) ready to go with the curbside, and we were looking to do something like this."