Recycling center to closeThe owner of G & G Recycling in Dickinson has approached the city to see if it is interested in taking over the cardboard recycling side of the business.
By: John Odermann, The Dickinson Press
The owner of G & G Recycling in Dickinson has approached the city to see if it is interested in taking over the cardboard recycling side of the business.
The business, which handles cardboard and metal recycling, is closing no matter what the city decides, owner Gardner Polanchek said. If the market for metals rebounds he may reopen but he won’t handle cardboard, he said.
Polanchek said he’s waiting to see what the city will do, but the market will no longer support a recycling business in Dickinson and he plans to close. He hopes the city will continue the cardboard side of his business, which it already helps him with.
“It’s a sad day when this has to happen, but I think the city should step in and take it over, just to save the landfill space,” he said. “That alone is going to save them money.”
Polanchek collects about 1.4 million pounds of cardboard per year.
G & G Recycling works with the recycling of steel, copper, aluminum and paper products (including cardboard), but because of the recent downturn in the economy, the price of those commodities has bottomed out, Polanchek said.
“Our paper and cardboard prices just fell to nothing. Cardboard is at $15 a ton, a whole semi-load is $300,” Polanchek said.
The city assists G & G with its cardboard recycling by baling some of the cardboard to prepare it for shipment.
Ken Kussy, Dickinson Public Works manager for solid waste management, said he doesn’t believe the city would be able to take over cardboard recycling completely without subsidizing it.
The city charges $29 per ton to dispose of commercial and residential waste and $12 per ton to dispose of inert waste, which cardboard would be considered, Kussy said.
Kussy said with disposal costs at $29, the recycling option isn’t attractive.
“Economics wise it’s not feasible in rural areas to do this and really in most cases if you find a successful program I’ll show you one that’s subsidized,” Kussy said. “It’s going to cost me more to bale it and recycle it then it is to put it in the landfill when it’s all said and done.”
Polanchek said the city should consider the move because of the landfill space it will save in the long-run.
“I don’t think they (the city) are going to lose money. They’re going to save money if they don’t have to replace that amount of money with the landfill,” Polanchek said.
Kussy said there is an argument to be made for supporting a city cardboard recycling program, but he’s never seen broad-based support from the public if a subsidy is involved.
“I don’t get a lot of enthusiasm from the public or the commission to subsidize a recycling process,” Kussy said.
Kussy said it is unfortunate the market won’t support Polanchek’s business, but that doesn’t mean the city should take on the loss.
“It’s unfortunate. I always maintain I would rather see the private sector doing this instead of the government,” Kussy said. “When it’s cheaper to recycle cardboard people are going to do it. Companies are going to do it.”