Hauler says tariffs impacting recycling

By on February 27, 2019

Borough will discuss request to pay tipping fees for materials

Federal trade tariffs imposed on China several months ago may be resulting in recycling changes for communities across the country.

At Ephrata Borough’s recent council meeting on Feb.11, Eagle Disposal, which has a contract with the borough, advised the council that, as a result of tariffs placed on China — the nation’s largest importer of recyclable material — China will no longer be accepting recyclable materials from the United States.

Due to China’s decision, the market for recyclable materials has “all but dried up,” a representative from Eagle Disposal told borough council.

Since this change in international policy, Eagle Disposal is now paying to dispose of recyclable materials instead of getting paid for the materials, as they had in the recent past.

Eagle Disposal is requesting that the borough consider paying their company tipping fees for recyclable materials as established by the LCSWMA (Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Association).

Eagle Disposal is the borough’s solid waste and recycling contractor and they are in the third year of a three-year contract with the municipality.

The borough council will be discussing the request with Eagle representatives in the near future.

Eagle Disposal of East Earl does still recycle cardboard, newspaper, glass, aluminum and tin cans, and cartons, said Tina Henderson, residential manager with Eagle Disposal.

They take “1,2, and 5” plastics, which includes water bottles and plastic milk containers, she said.

“Everything has changed in recycling,” Henderson said. “Unfortunately, the stuff we can no longer take does go into a landfill, if we don’t have a source to get rid of it.”

As of last June, they do not take office paper, magazines, or certain plastics.

“We still have a pretty good recycling program, but there are some things that we cannot take,” Henderson said. “These changes are nationwide, depending on what the materials are.

“There are certain things that China is cutting down on or rejecting,” Henderson said. “Hopefully, we’ll get back to where it can all be recycled.”

There has always been a price attached to some recyclables to be paid by municipalities, depending on the tonnage, Henderson said.

But it’s not that way with homeowners, she added.

“For residential customers, they pay a flat quarterly rate; we don’t charge them for recyclables,” Henderson said. “Some contracts we have (with municipalities) are just for recycling.”

The city of Lancaster won’t take as many different types of recyclable material as Eagle Disposal, Henderson said, but some of their material to be recycled is burned, turning it into energy.

“Our recycling comes to our yard and we have 18-wheeler tractor trailers that take it to York,” Henderson said. “Nationwide, it (what can be recycled) depends on where you live; if your company has a source where they can get rid of things, then they’ll still take different recyclable materials. It depends on where they are outsourcing.”

In another waste matter, Borough Manager D. Robert Thompson updated council members on the proposal to construct a manure to energy facility at one of the Borough Authority’s wastewater facilities.

The proposal surfaced at the November borough council meeting, he said, and since that time, the wastewater team, including the Inter-municipal Group’s Technical Committee, spoke with the developer of the project, Mike McGolden, state Representative David Zimmerman, and his chief of staff, Priscilla Eberly.

The project was also discussed with energy consultant company GDS, who prepared a project evaluation of the energy generation component, and which has been reviewed by the committee.

Staff will meet with the developer when he returns from Russia in mid-February, Thompson said, for further discussion.

Thompson also updated council on the borough’s solar project, saying that construction is essentially complete and the site is being tested.

One control panel will be delivered early in March, he said, and the site is expected to be operational sometime in April.

To mark that event, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned.

Borough Council approved signing documents associated with assigning the rights to the solar project TPE Pennsylvania Solar 1, LLC, to a new owner, including the collateral assignment of the lease agreement.

Council also reviewed a storm water management plan and consulting services agreement from Harbor Engineering Inc. The agreement for $11,200 for storm water design services is associated with a proposed borough-owned salt storage building.

The salt storage building will be located near the intersection of Church Avenue and Wenger Drive and due to the footprint of the building and additional paving, it will need a storm water management plan.

In other news, Ephrata Police Chief William Harvey presented an overview of the 2019 Lancaster County Hazard Mitigation Plan to council.

Retired LEMA Director Randy Gockley also spoke about the plan and urged council to adopt the plan.

Chief Harvey also spoke about plans for a flood warning system for borough residents.

Also, the Community Services Committee has reviewed the Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail application for trail use through multiple municipalities.

The Warwick Recreation Center will maintain a calendar of all requests for trail use through multiple municipalities as well as those for use in one municipality, to ensure there are no conflicts in booking.

The cost of any fees to be charged will be clarified at a later date.

The committee reviewed a request from St. Boniface Brewery for the “Amazing St. Boni-Race” to benefit Camp No Limits. Approval is pending after confirmation of a date to be set for the race.

Council unveiled their 2019 Cultural Arts Grants: The Ephrata Area Public Library will receive $3,000; the Ephrata Performing Arts Center, $1,800; the Ephrata Concert Band, $2,000; Ephrata Cloister Association, $850; Ephrata Recreation Center, $1,200, and Eicher Arts Center, $700.

Back in October, borough resident Clyde Brown approached the council with concerns about unsafe traffic movement at the Route 322 and Route 272 intersection cloverleaf. After discussion with PennDOT, his concerns will result in PennDOT installing “no left turn” signs at three of the cloverleaf ramps at that area.

Sign installation should be completed in about 60 days, depending on the weather.

Council also adopted a resolution for a 90-day experimental traffic regulation prohibiting parking along certain sections of West Pine Street and North Oak Street.

Council also approved an ordinance prohibiting parking at all times on the north side of West Locust Street between Park Avenue and Spruce Alley.

In another matter, they approved a request from Ben Lee, regional director for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia, Delaware, and the Susquehanna Valley to travel through the borough for the 30th Annual Mother’s Day Convoy, to be held Sunday, May 12.

The council approved a request to hold the “Food Stock Music Festival” in Grater Park in June. This will be the sixth year for the event that supports hunger-fighting organizations.

It was announced that an additional board member is needed for the borough’s Shade Tree Commission, since board member Chandra Mast resigned recently.

Anyone interested should contact the borough office.

Marylouise Sholly is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.

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