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Sun, Nov. 17

Sedona Recycles to pull out of Cottonwood

The recycling containers at Walmart will be removed with several other containers, according to a statement from the City of Cottonwood. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

The recycling containers at Walmart will be removed with several other containers, according to a statement from the City of Cottonwood. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

COTTONWOOD -- The trash talk may finally be over. Sedona Recycles announced they are ready to remove their large recycling containers from some popular locations like Walmart in Cottonwood because the city won't help fund their recycling and educational efforts.

These include about 20 to 25 containers at Habitat for Humanity, Yes the ARC on Willard Street, Yavapai County Complex on Paula Street and Central Arizona Food Bank on North Main Street and Walmart, according to a Cottonwood City announcement on its webpage.

The city's position is that residents can use the city's transfer statiobn or a private hauler to take their recycled items, but the Sedona non-profit says a lack of an agreement between the city and Sedona Recycles will lead to less materials being recycled in Cottonwood.

"It's a sad situations for us," Jill McCutchoen, executive director of Sedona Recycles on Monday. She said they have been trying to contact city officials to talk to them about staying in Cottonwood, but it's been difficult getting them to respond to emails and letters. This comes after four years of trying to come to an agreement with the city.

Sedona Recycles had a contract with the city for 11 years to take recycled materials, but that ended in 2011 when another company, Verde Earth Works, came in at a lower price.

About that time, Sedona Recycles put in containers at the five private and non-profit sites on their own. However, recycling the materials is not covering the cost of the Cottonwood containers, she said. Last year Sedona Recycles picked up 1,015 tons of recyclable material from their Cottonwood bins.

"I honestly thought we were going to work with Cottonwood again," McCuchoen said, adding that they have contracts with Sedona, Camp Verde, Jerome and Yavapai County.

The City of Cottonwood transfer station has limited hours and is limited to one location, explained McCutchoen. Commercial businesses also rely on them, she added.

A far as private haulers and curb-side pickup of recycled materials, they don't require customers to sort their recycled items, McCutchoen said A lot of that "dirty" mixed material is not always recycled and ends up in landfill, she said, explaining that most recyclers want clean material to recycle, especially in this tight market.

The City of Cottonwood set up its own transfer station two or three years ago, according to City Manager Doug Bartosh and is still expanding the items it recycles.

The city received a letter from Sedona Recycles that it was moving the containers out of Cottonwood, but he said the letter was only a "courtesy," since there is no contract between the city and Sedona Recycles.

"We have been informed that Sedona Recycles is planning to remove their recycling containers from the various locations throughout Cottonwood. The removal of the containers is to transpire over the next few months and should be completed by September 1, 2015," stated the city's statement.

"The City of Cottonwood is disappointed in the Sedona Recycles announcement that it is pulling out the area inferring that is due to the lack of city support."

There once was a contract between the city and Sedona Recycles approximately five years ago when they had a container at the Middle School, Bartosh said, but currently there is no contract between the city and Sedona Recycles and none of the containers are on city property.

However, Bartosh said he believes Sedona Recycles indicated they would like to set up a contract with the city, but the council has no plans at this time to do this and the city manager is not sure the city want to spend the money.

Currently the city pays Waste Management to haul trash and recyclable materials from its transfer station, Bartosh said. The city then gets paid for the materials it recycles. "We run the transfer plant," he said. "They are the haulers."

Bartosh pointed out that most people like curb-side recycling through their private trash hauler. The City of Cottonwood has had several meetings considering a city-wide, curbside recycling pickup, he said.

But the problem is that city would have to choose only one trash hauler - thus leaving the other haulers out of the picture - and citizens would be limited to curb-side for recycling, Bartosh said.

The City of Sedona is currently conducting a survey to determine if their city wants to establish curbside recycling collection by a single hauler throughout Sedona. According to their website, Sedona Recycles has been working with the city to make this happen and they are asking to have the recycled materials collected in Sedona sent to Sedona Recycles for processing.

The important thing for Cottonwood is to get the city residents to recycle as efficiently as possible, city manager Bartosh said. Unfortunately, Sedona Recycles' business model is just "unsustainable" in Cottonwood, he added.

The City of Cottonwood Transfer Station It is located at 1500 W. Mingus Ave. across from the Verde Valley Humane Society and is open Monday - Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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