The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 16, 2013

Council to hear public comments on recycling issue

By Debby Woodin

JOPLIN, Mo. — A curbside recycling initiative that was defeated earlier this month will resurface tonight when several Joplin residents will ask for further consideration and two vendors will offer their services.

Representatives of two recycling businesses, one in Bentonville, Ark., and one in Tulsa, Okla., have filed requests to speak to the City Council. As of Friday morning, four residents also had submitted requests.

The council’s formal meeting will be at 6 p.m. on the fifth floor of City Hall, 602 S. Main St. An informal session is set for 5:15 p.m.

The council, at its June 3 meeting, voted 4-3 to place a nonbinding question on the April ballot asking if curbside recycling should be instituted. The question is tied to a current offer by the city’s franchised trash hauler, Republic Services, to add biweekly curbside pickup of recyclable materials for $3.03 more a month than the current trash bills of $11.91. But the motion failed because city rules require at least five votes for any issue to pass.

City Attorney Brian Head said it would require a request by one of the three who voted against the proposal to reopen the discussion.

Several residents want to speak about that.

“My husband and I have been committed recyclers for almost 20 years,” said Susan Adams, 1130 S. Roosevelt Ave., who has filed one of the requests to address the council.

“We just think Joplin has this opportunity to brand itself as a progressive, forward-thinking community, and that when people move to this community, this is one of the amenities they are used to having in other cities. They are going to judge the community based on what its commitment is to preserving our environment.”

That’s why she will encourage the council to take up the discussion again. She said she also would support the council looking at options other than the Republic Services proposal and making a decision based on that study without an election.

Catherine Hart, general manager of Greentown Joplin, said she will tell the council that she is willing to help the city try to find a way to help eligible residents pay the cost if the city adopts curbside recycling.

“What I’m going to do is offer to work with the recycling department to look for grant monies for people who can’t afford it the first year or who are in the tornado zone,” she said of the proposed $3.03 increase. “That seems to be a sticking point, so I think we could find a way to help them out.”

There could be other possibilities.

Representatives of two companies, Covanta Energy of Tulsa, Okla., and Deffenbaugh Industries of Bentonville, Ark., have requested to speak.

Bob Mathis, general manager of Deffenbaugh, will discuss alternatives to the Republic Services proposal. Deffenbaugh offers traditional waste hauling and recycling.

Matthew Newman, business manager for the Covanta plant, said he will speak about the advantages of waste-to-energy recycling. Covanta operates plants in 15 states, Canada, Italy and China. At its Tulsa site, it processes more than 1,000 tons a day of solid waste into steam that is used to power generators or sold to a refiner that uses the steam in lieu of fossil fuels.

Jane Cage, the chairwoman of Joplin’s Citizens Advisory Recovery Team, said after the vote two weeks ago that she hoped the council would resurrect the discussion because it was a CART recommendation.

“Joplin citizens indicated their strong interest in recycling and sustainability that is documented in the CART plan that was endorsed by the council themselves,” Cage said.

The team was formed after the 2011 tornado to provide a way for residents to give input on what they would like to see accomplished in Joplin’s recovery and to represent community views to city officials.


JOPLIN IS LOCKED into a contract with Republic Services until 2016, but the contract allows for new negotiations.