Residents putting recycling in plastic bags is costing BoroOctober 31, 2019
SWEDESBORO — At their meeting on Oct. 21, the Swedesboro Council discussed reports of
as many as six truckloads of recycling being rejected because of plastic bags being used to hold the trash
“If there is one bag of bottles in a plastic bag, the whole truckload is rejected,” observed Councilmember George Weeks. “After a truck is turned down, it goes to the trash incinerator,” Mayor Tom Fromm explained. Councilmember Dave Flaherty added, “We’re paying for a load of trash.”
The items that are recyclable are supposed to be free under Swedesboro’s latest contract. Swedesboro is charged $75 every time a truck refuses its trash. Fromm feared the town would be paying as much for its trash now as it did when they were charged for it. A town is charged about $90 a ton for regular trash.
Fromm noted that he needed to know the economic impact here. “We have to get the message out,” he said. “It’s going to raise your tax rates, be it a penny, a dollar, or one hundred dollars.”
Flaherty suggested that “whenever Swedesboro finds out who the culprit is, they should notify the household and stop picking up their trash.”
In September, Councilmember Diane Hale toured the Omni Recycling facility, and saw a truck deliver a car seat, microwave, refrigerator, stereo, and a large load of plastic bags. Fromm summarized, “We need to know how many of these bags came from Swedesboro, how many were rejected, and how much this is going to cost us.”
Elsewhere, in his Environmental Commission report, Councilmember Sam Casella said that the cleanup at Lake Narraticon had been a big success. Young people from the community and other local volunteers spent part of their weekend working at the lake, along with members of the Kingsway Regional Football team.
The cleanup crews of 78 people were able to rake and bag over 20 bags of leaves. According to Casella, among items pulled from the Lake were two bowling balls, a tire, a walkie-talkie and a frying pan. He said the volunteers pulled 172 pounds and 13 ounces of trash from woods, park, and shoreline. They located 67 pounds and 2 ounces of recyclable material as well.
Casella pointed out that the Environmental Commission was still discussing plastic bag bans. This is down the road,” he mentioned. “We’re just trying to put something together.”
In resolutions, Council approved the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, with a fiscal grant cycle of July 2020 through June 2021. They also adopted a resolution that confirmed a utility maintenance employee’s classification. The employee would get a retroactive pay hike from earlier in the year.
Earlier in the meeting Fromm announced that Swedesboro would be receiving a dividend of $15,000 from the TRICO JIF Insurance Fund. Council moved to credit the money to next year’s funding costs.
Council also discussed their standing in the Best Practices Inventory, a questionnaire from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to see if a community’s management is operating in compliance. Swedesboro needed to come up with a score of 30, but they scored 41.5. Swedesboro CFO Elizabeth Pigliacelli said the town must be running smoothly and efficiently.
Pigliacelli also told Council that Swedesboro’s finances were in order. “The utility budget is a little tight, but that’s about all,” she commented.
by Robert Holt