GOSHEN — A new residential curbside recycling program aimed at reducing spending and solid waste is coming to the city in August, according to officials close to the project.
During their meeting Monday afternoon, Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety members approved a new contract with Borden Waste-Away Service for solid waste collection services for the city.
As part of that contract, Borden will provide a 96-gallon recycling bin to all residential sites of four units or less within Goshen, and will remove recyclables every two weeks.
Drop-off recycling sites administered by Elkhart County will continue at Goshen College and at the Elkhart Road/U.S. 33 Martin’s Supermarket, according to the contract.
In addition, the new waste collection contract will also do away with unlimited trash removal services in Goshen. Instead, non-recyclable trash material will need to be placed within a separate 96-gallon trash container provided by Borden, and will be removed weekly.
“There is going to be some pretty good-sized changes for our community,” Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman, who also holds a seat on the board, said of the new contract. “Trash pickup will remain going. The prices have been going up on us because of the amount that we’re all producing. So, this change to curbside recycling is not only going to help the environment, but it helps balance out the budget some as well.”
Stutsman noted that tags for additional trash — beyond the 96-gallon trash bin — will be available for purchase at locations yet to be determined. Removal of large trash items, electronic waste and purchase of additional trash services are also contracted to Borden, and will have an additional fee, which will be the responsibility of individual homeowners.
As currently planned, residents will not have to pay to use the basic trash and recycling collection services under the new waste collection contract.
Stutsman pointed to the rising costs of solid waste removal over the past seven years as the primary reason for the change in the way the city deals with refuse.
As an example, Stutsman noted that the city’s trash costs have risen steadily from $800,000 in 2016 to a projected $1.6 million in 2022. During that same period, household trash in Goshen also increased, from 1,774 pounds per year in 2014 to 2,340 pounds in 2021.
Without incentives to decrease trash generation, Goshen’s trash budget is projected to rise to more than $2 million by 2023. Given that outlook, city administration felt that the time to act has come, he explained.
“It is always exciting when you can add additional services to our community all while helping to build a more sustainable budget and benefitting our environment,” Stutsman said of the change. “I encourage city residents to take full advantage of this new service and help us divert solid waste from the landfill.”
By contracting for curbside recycling and limited trash pickup, the city can stabilize its trash removal costs for up to 10 years, instead of continuing on the path of a runaway budget, he added.
Additionally, curbside recycling should give more residents ready access to this service, which can reduce overall trash generation. Further benefits include recycling-related jobs within our community, Stutsman explained.
“We’ve got to learn how to create less trash. Trash removal costs were unsustainable,” Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley, director of the city’s Department of Environmental Resilience, added of the change. “Now we are moving to a system that encourages us to waste less, rather than a system that said, ‘Go ahead, throw away everything you want, we’ll pay for it.’”
According to Stutsman, the city will be working with Borden to create ongoing education throughout the city during the summer months in preparation for the change in trash removal operations.
Education will include what to recycle, what not to recycle, and how to access additional trash services, he explained.
In addition, the city’s July “Maple City Now” newsletter will also contain information about the new trash removal contract.
Anyone with questions about the upcoming changes to the city’s waste collection program is asked to contact the City Switchboard at 574-533-8621.