As a key component of Lycoming County's plans to move toward single-stream recycling, area waste haulers have mixed opinions on the new program that allows recyclable materials to be comingled during their collection and processing.
New equipment on the way will allow county Resource Management Services to process 18 to 20 tons of recyclable material per hour. It will rely on a steady stream of materials from waste haulers and those accumulated at drop-off sites around the county.
One company that jumped on the bandwagon was Hometown Disposal, of Sunbury. Jesse Pyers, general manager, said his company was the first to introduce single-stream recycling collection to its customers in Lycoming County.
"It was just the right time to introduce it to our customers," Pyers said, who added that Hometown Disposal began collecting single-stream materials in Lycoming County on April 1.
In fact, Pyers' company has been collecting single-stream recyclable materials from his customers in other counties since September. He said that in 2012, Hometown Disposal picked up 327,604 pounds of recyclables from customers' curbside tote containers provided by the company.
"That number is really going to grow," he said. "We're giving our customers what they want. We're seeing a lot of interest in it."
Pyers said that no specialized equipment is needed for his company to collect the comingled recyclables. Hometown Disposal takes recyclable materials to a processing facility in Hazleton, but Pyers said that may change when Lycoming County's processing facility is up and running later this year.
Tim Tate, however, of Tate's Container Service, of Williamsport, said the math for him to offer single-stream recycling pickup simply doesn't work.
He also said it's something he and other waste haulers previously attempted to do, but couldn't compete with county government and free labor from Pre-Release Center inmates.
"We tried. The waste haulers got together," Tate said.
He said the group of local businesses had a plan, equipment and land to collect recyclable material from their customers, but the "county came in and got all the grant money. They just ran us out of business."
Tate said he would spend too much money by dedicating trucks and fuel costs for a small return on his investment
He also said that he believes people prefer to use drop-off sites that are situated throughout municipalities in the county. And that's where the county makes its money, Tate said.
Bower Disposal and Container Service, of Williamsport, provides home pickup for recyclable material.
"It was something we could handle, so we decided to take it on," said Tanya Bower, company secretary.
Like Hometown Disposal, Bower's company provides tote containers and charges a small monthly fee to pick up recyclable material.
Bower said that by recycling more items, people also may be able to reduce their garbage bill.
She said her company is excited to provide single stream recycling pick up.
"In the long run, you will have happier clients who will stick with you longer," Bower said. "You've got to change with the times."