ELYRIA — Bowing to pressure from Lorain and other communities that have expressed reservations over a “pay-as-you-throw” trash program, the county’s Solid Waste Management District’s Policy Committee decided to allow communities to opt out of the program after they complete a two-year test run.
The compromise still will force the communities to operate the pilot program if they want to get bonus grant money that Solid Waste is hoping will entice them into participating in the program. Those communities that do sign up for pay-as-you-throw will get additional money every year for participating in the program in addition to the bonuses.
“The reality is I don’t think anybody’s going to back out,” said Policy Committee member Brian Parsons at a meeting Tuesday. “It’s worth the risk.”
The Policy Committee is pushing the pay-as-you-throw concept, which would allow county residents to throw away only a certain amount of trash per week, because it believes it will boost recycling rates in the county.
Allied Waste, which already is utilizing a cart-based “pay-as-you-throw” system in LaGrange, also is behind the idea, in part because it will reduce employee injuries and because it will allow its garbage trucks to be run by one worker instead of the two-man crews that now operate most of its trucks.
Originally only Lorain and Elyria were going to be allowed to have pilot programs. But Allied’s Area Marketing Manager Dave Kidder said Tuesday that Allied, which collects trash in every community in the county except Elyria and Oberlin, would set up the pilot program in more communities if there were at least 900 homes in the city, village or township that participated.
Most townships do not have enough residents to create a pilot program and would have to sign up for pay-as-you-throw if they wanted to get extra money from the Solid Waste district.
Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin has said he will try to stop an attempt to pass pay-as-you-throw in his city because he wants his residents to be able to throw as much away as they need.
In order for the plan to pass, Lorain, the county commissioners and 60 percent of the county’s other communities must sign off on it.
North Ridgeville Mayor Dave Gillock said North Ridgeville still has concerns but is willing to look at the updated proposal before making a final decision about whether to support or oppose pay-as-you-throw.
“We want to support recycling, but we want to make sure our residents can dispose of what they’ve got,” he said.
Commissioner Ted Kalo, who sits on the Policy Committee, said the option of opting out of the program if it doesn’t work will make pay-as-you-throw more palatable for communities that don’t want to change.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.