Saturday, April 05, 2008

Councilman Seeks Fee Exemption for Some Recyclers

Households that don't generate many recyclables would be given a break from new trash fees under a proposal by St. Louis County Councilman John Campisi, R-south St. Louis County. The county's new recycling standard calls for trash haulers to provide once-a-week pickup of recyclables. The standard started on April 1, and several trash hauling companies are charging for it.

Campisi would exempt households that generate less than 35 gallons of recyclables every seven days. The councilman also wants to make twice-a-year bulky waste pickups optional instead of mandatory. He wants the County Council on Tuesday to add these provisions to his bill that would remove the county's authority to establish trash collection districts.

Garry Earls, the county's chief operating officer, said finding out who would be exempt would be an administrative nightmare (like it isn't already). "Somebody would have to pay the cost" of such an effort, he said. Companies that add a charge for recyclable pickups "are challenging customers to shop around for another hauler," Earls said.

The bidding by hauling companies for the trash collection districts should drive down prices, he said.Judith Robertson, who lives in the Flamingo Oaks subdivision near Florissant, and Bob Meurer, who lives in the Maryville Gardens subdivision in south St. Louis County, said their haulers are raising their trash bill by about $8 a month for the recyclable pickups.

Both said they put recyclables in bins at churches and schools and do not want the pickup service. They said the charge is unfair and a burden.

Robertson said she spent Friday shopping for a different hauler and found that other companies also were raising the rates because of the recycling pickups.

In a letter asking County Counselor Patricia Redington to draft the changes, Campisi said he is responding to hundreds of letters and telephone calls from his constituents.

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