The city of Dayton reached an environmental and financial milestone in 2012 — the first year the city saw its residents increase their recycling and decrease their trash tonnage, saving Dayton $121,000.
Dayton pays Rumpke $37.25 per ton of trash sent to a landfill, but pays nothing for the company to accept recyclable materials, according to waste collection manager Tom Ritchie Jr.
City Public Works Director Fred Stovall said Wednesday that Dayton residents decreased their trash tonnage by 8 percent, or 3,256 tons, in 2012, while increasing their recycling tonnage by 14.5 percent.
Ritchie said the city averaged more than 500 tons of recyclables per month in 2012 as residents pulled more recyclables out of the waste stream. On Rumpke’s sliding price scale, that meant the city went from paying a small fee for the company to collect recyclables, to receiving the service for free.
“Our goal was always to get to 500 tons a month, so it cost us nothing for recycling,” City Manager Tim Riordan said. “I’d now like to say we need a goal of 1,000 tons per month, and we hope to start seeing an increase thanks to our project with the Dayton Public Schools. I think we’ve got to take it up to another level.”
Dayton Public Schools recently did a student art contest focusing on recycling, and is pushing other recycling education efforts with its students.
DPS facilities are not part of the city’s waste collection routes, which only handle residential properties. But Mayor Gary Leitzell said if the students are educated on the advantages of recycling, they’ll push their parents to recycle at home.
For the past 19 months, the city also has been pushing recycling through its Recycle Reward Bucks Program, in which all city residents who recycle are entered in a monthly drawing, and four each month win $100. The city knows who recycles and who doesn’t because each container includes a computer chip that is read by city trucks.
Stovall said the city hopes to double its $121,000 savings in 2013. For recycling questions or to request a free recycling bin, Dayton residents can call 333-4800.
Also Tuesday, Dayton City Commission approved a 46-month, $114,700 contract with RouteSmart Technologies for computer software and training that will determine the most efficient routing of trucks that handle trash, recycling, salting and plowing.
Trash trucks are on the road most weekdays, negotiating 21 defined routes based on each driver’s field decisions, according to city documents. Stovall said those trucks get only 1 to 2 miles per gallon of gas, making them expensive to operate.
The city’s request for proposals said the goals were to improve customer service, accuracy and efficiency, and also to save money on fuel, staff and equipment.