Even though a trash collection proposal before the Medina County Solid Waste Policy Committee got the majority of votes for passage, the votes that carried the most weight went the opposite way.
So the system known as flow control will remain.
What it means is that all trash generated in the county will continue to be transported to the Central Processing Facility, 8700 Lake Road, Westfield Township.
Six members of the committee voted to eliminate flow control, four voted to keep it and one abstained.
Three conditions needed to be met under committee rules in order to eliminate flow control:
- A committee majority had to vote against it (at least six of the 11 members)
- At least two of the three cities had to vote it down
- The county commissioner and at least one township representative had to vote against it.
However, when city representatives from Medina and Wadsworth voted to maintain flow control, any thoughts of overturning the proposal ended. Medina County Commissioner Adam Friedrick and citizen representative Tom James, Medina County Parks District director, also voted to keep control.
Plan in place ‘til 2019
They will now keep the current plan until 2019. Per Ohio law, the Solid Waste Plan identifies the district’s strategies for managing the facilities and programs and works toward achieving state recycling and waste-reduction goals.
“Based on the criteria set forth by the MC-18 Work Group, we are moving forward with the current plan for the next (few) years,” Friedrick said.
Eliminating flow control would have created an open and free market for haulers to transport trash to landfills instead of bringing it to the processing facility. If flow control was eliminated, Medina County Sanitary Engineer Amy Lyon-Galvin said township customers might have seen their trash collection bills reduced.
“I think a free-market option down the road is a good solution, probably a better solution, but I didn’t think we were ready for it right now,” Friedrick said. “The current plan we have now is a good plan. We can pursue some of these other mixed-waste processing options once we get to this next plan rewrite in 2019.”
Nino Piccoli, Medina city service director, said keeping flow control was important.
“Our council and city administration at this point in time are of the opinion that the potential savings that may be received from eliminating flow control coupled with the lower recycling percentages of the same do not outweigh the potential of achieving a higher percentage of recycling with an operator in the CPF,” he said. “Flow control can be a great asset if managed properly.”
“At this point in time,” Piccoli continued, “City Council, the administration and myself (are) of the opinion that the potential savings achieved by eliminating flow control wouldn’t outweigh a higher recycling percentage and flow control being managed properly.”
He said the city wants what most everyone wants: A higher recycling percentage at a lower cost.
“If you get rid of it (flow control), you’re not going to get it back,” Piccoli said.
City vote predictable
Lyon-Galvin said she wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“We knew how all three of the cities were going to vote,” she said. “They held true with what they discussed at the council meetings.
“Honestly, either vote was a good outcome. We’re happy to implement the current plan we have. It’s a great plan. We would have just as willingly entered into the rewrite if that was the will of the committee.
“We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Lyon-Galvin said. “We’re happy with the increased tonnage at our countywide recycling bins and encouraged by the increased private haulers offering curbside (service) in the township areas. All of those efforts help our county numbers increase for those volumes collected.”
Beth Biggins-Ramer, Solid Waste District coordinator, said the vote to maintain flow control means the district will:
- Continue to meet statewide standards through its single-stream recycling drop-off program
- Encourage curbside recycling in unincorporated areas
- Work with business and other municipalities to develop recycling opportunities
Friedrick said keeping flow control in the future might not be crucial. One company that has made a proposal to the district is InfiMer of Israel, which proposes to turn mixed waste into plastic pellets, which it would sell. The company has stated that flow control is not needed.
“I would love to find an inexpensive complement to what InfiMer wants to do here,” Friedrick said. “It’s got to be a good process and it’s got to be economical.”
Piccoli labeled InfiMer’s proposal as “outstanding.”
He said keeping flow control now is the right thing to do since technology is constantly changing and the district doesn’t know what might be proposed in years ahead.
New Envision proposal
Envision Waste Services, based in Cleveland, operated the CPF for more than 20 years, but saw its contract expire with the county in January 2015. The company will make a new proposal to county commissioners in June.
Lyon-Galvin said at the time of the expired contract, Envision’s proposal was deemed too expensive.
“The commissioners rejected the bid and we didn’t pursue that contract,” she said.
Envision’s bid wasn’t the only one turned away.
“We just didn’t reject Envision, we rejected all three bids,” Friedrick said.
Other proposals were made by the Optiva Group of Cleveland and Vexor Technology of Medina.
Lyon-Galvin said GT Environmental is assessing the proposals of Envision and InfiMer.
“They are being reviewed right now,” she said.
Lyon-Galvin said the price and length of contract would be two factors in any proposal.
“The Policy Committee would recommend to the commissioners if it’s a viable opportunity that fits within our current plan and then that decision would be made,” she said.
- David Hull has been appointed to the vacancy for a public representative on the Solid Waste Policy Committee. He will replace Jeff Plumer, who stepped down. It will be a two-year term that will expire Oct. 31, 2018.
Hull, of York Township, said he retired from NASA about five years ago. He said he is interested in the county’s recycling program.
“I think the recycling bins have worked well, especially in the rural areas,” he said.
- The Solid Waste District has begun a recycling program this month with Brunswick City Schools. They’ve placed 11 large garbage containers at each school in the Brunswick system, and smaller 14-gallon tubs in each classroom.
Biggins-Ramer said wants to replicate the program.
“That will be two of our schools that will have system-wide recycling in their classrooms,” she said.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or email@example.com.
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