Residents share mixed reactions when Chesterfield decides to privatize recycling

CHESTERFIELD, Virginia (WWBT) – Starting next year, recycling in Chesterfield will look different for thousands of households as county leaders move to privatize recycling by switching to a “subscription-based model”.

The decision comes about 10 months before Chesterfield’s sidewalk recycling agreement with the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority ends on July 1, 2023.

Since 1991, Chesterfield has participated in the curb recycling program with CVWMA, which was initiated to help locations meet the new statewide diversion requirement. The state requires 25% waste diversion per year. At the moment, county officials have said the region reaches around 60%.

During a presentation to the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors on 21 September, officials reviewed the decision for the change. In the presentation slide, one of the reasons for this choice was to provide the “lowest cost to citizens”.

“We think they can get a better price if they combine their garbage service with the recycling program,” said John Neal, director of general services for Chesterfield County.

Neal said county leaders were told the subscription service offering for CVWMA would be around $ 200 per year.

According to the online presentation made on Wednesday, a private sector research identified more hauliers to provide a subscription service for $ 82- $ 120 per year, which the county says would save residents more money than CVWMA again. offered the contract and offered a price tag of $ 202 per year.

“What we are planning to do is make sure that the four suppliers, who have expressed an interest in providing recycling services, can work directly with the families,” Neal said Thursday.

Sixty-two thousand families in Chesterfield are currently participating in the sidewalk recycling program. The county also adds that 18 residential communities have exited this program and have chosen to group their recycling and garbage programs with private hauliers.

As the county prepares for this transition, leaders also believe this change will be consistent with the county’s subscription approach, cut “middlemen” when it comes to billing, and allow residents to opt in.

Since the county joined this program in 1991, the program has been subsidized through tax revenues. In 2010, the program was funded through an annual fee of $ 25 for each participating family. This price jumped to $ 41 in 2021.

As for the $ 41 fee associated with this program for families who choose to participate, Neal said the bill would no longer appear once the contract expires next year.

“Once the contract is over, the $ 41 bill will go away, or if they want to give up now and go with another supplier, they can do it,” Neal said.

The county spokesperson also tells NBC12 that the county will still pay CVWMA for educational and promotional services, but paying the taxes will not fund it.

The decision came with mixed reactions from residents across the county.

One man, who didn’t want to speak on camera, told NBC12 that the decision doesn’t bother him. However, residents, including Jocelyn Sommers, think differently.

“I felt very disappointed, very frustrated,” she told NBC12. “It will make many people prepare for failure, who have participated in this program, who have relied on it, have relied on it and now it puts it in the hands of an individual on what to do, and I think a lot of people will not understand what to do. “.

Sommers also believes this move will do more harm than good.

“I think a lot of people won’t understand what to do because it’s overwhelming or they’re not sure how to do it,” she said.

Neal said that during this transition period, the county will send letters to families currently under this program to make sure they are aware of the changes before their contract expires next year. Additionally, Neal believes this will provide a positive result for the county.

“I think just having this option will take hold and residents will see better service,” he said.

On the county website, leaders said residents could start switching to private hauliers at any time. Additionally, the county adds that the following companies have indicated that they will provide curbside recycling, including providing containers for their service:

  • Choose waste disposal services or call 804-234-4444
  • GFL Environmental or call 804-843-9288
  • Tidewater Fiber Corporation (TFC) Recycling or call 804-706-5877
  • Waste Management: (800) -834-2805

In addition, officials also add that the two county malls will continue to offer free recycling. During Wednesday’s presentation, officials also discussed budget developments for fiscal year 2024, which would consider a $ 437,000 grant to restore 7-day operations to their convenience centers.

“We will closely monitor how things are going, how the transition is going so that we can make the necessary changes,” Neal said in Thursday’s interview.

County leaders also share that there will be no cost increase for those who remain on the program until next year’s end date, July 1, 2023. Residents in this program who choose to opt out of the program before March 1. 2023, the $ 20.50 fee will not be charged for the first half of the year.

To find out more about the changes, click here.

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