Two months have gone by since Right Away Disposal (RAD) suspended curbside recycling in the City of Globe.
City council voted to modify the city’s contract with RAD to no longer include recycling at a special meeting in May.
During a council meeting earlier that month, many residents talked about their problems with RAD, including lack of customer service by the front office, as well as difficulties elderly and disabled residents had moving trash cans from the alleys to the street.
Since the modification to the city’s contract with RAD, “The complaints have noticeably decreased,” Globe City Manager Paul Jepson said recently.
He said he has personally witnessed RAD drivers on Oak Street getting out of the trucks and picking up trash cans.
“It’s disappointing that we can’t do recycling, but now the drivers appear to have more time to put in the extra effort,” Jepson said. “The level of service is increasing.”
There also seem to be far fewer comments on local social media than at the height of trash service troubles in May. Most recent comments also praise the courtesy of the drivers.
Despite public concern about the impact that suspending curbside recycling would have on local landfills, Gila County Public Works Director Steve Sanders said the landfill has not seen a noticeable increase in people bringing recyclables into the landfill.
In fact, the county had already seen a 15% decline in the amount of trash brought into the landfill in the first six months of the year, he said.
During the first five months of the year, RAD brought an average of 30 loads per month to the landfill. However, in June, that number dropped to 16 loads, and it appeared that the July number would “be about the same,” Sanders said.
Although improved customer service seems to be a byproduct of discontinuing recycling in Globe, that is not what prompted the council’s vote to do so.
When RAD bid its most recent city contract in 2016, the market for recycling was healthy and thriving. Globe benefited from the market upswing by receiving a lower cost for trash services, as RAD was able to sell recycled material, subsidizing its trash collection costs.
Since that time, however, international recycling commodity prices collapsed. China, the largest purchaser of recycled paper and cardboard, is currently buying only a fraction of what it did in 2016.
Because RAD based its rates on the 2016 market price of recyclables, after the market crashed, RAD struggled to break even providing trash service to Globe. As a for-profit organization, if RAD is operating at a loss, it has the right to exercise the termination clause in its contract with the city.
In the spring, RAD representatives approached city officials, asking to suspend curbside recycling due to the collapse of the recycling commodity market. In response, the city council voted to suspend recycling to guarantee continuity of trash collection.
RAD would have continued collecting recyclables if the city agreed to a rate increase of $3 per month, but the council felt it would be too much of a burden on residents.
The bottom line is that, if the city had not allowed RAD to suspend recycling, Globe faced the real possibility of disruption of all trash collection for all residents, Jepson said.
Throughout Arizona, other cities have also struggled to maintain recycling programs, and many have already eliminated them, including Superior, Safford, Show Low, Camp Verde and Kingman.
There are other options for Globe residents who still wish to recycle.
According to Sanders, both paper and plastic recycling bins are at the Russell Gulch landfill, and drop-off is free.
He says the Russell Gulch landfill will accept No. 1 plastics, such as water bottles, soda bottles, peanut butter jars and salad dressing bottles, in addition to No. 2 milk jugs, at its plastic recycling bin. The number can be found inside the recycling symbol stamped on the container.
The county will also accept all paper products except cardboard at its paper recycling bin, he said.
The county also accepts green waste, such as lawn clippings, leaves, etc. at both Russell Gulch and the Buckhead Mesa landfill, which is between Payson and Pine. The charge for green waste is $34.50 per ton, with a minimum charge of $5.
With its decision in May, the Globe City Council left open the possibility of curbside recycling in Globe again one day. Prior to its May actions, council added a stipulation to the city’s contract with RAD that if the recycling commodities market recovers for six months to within 85% of the market in 2016, the company would restart recycling in Globe.
Jepson encourages residents still experiencing trash service problems to either contact RAD directly or call city hall. He said there are additional opportunities to make downtown trash pickup better, which the city plans to discuss in late summer or early fall.
The Russell Gulch Landfill is between Globe and Miami at 5891 E. Hope Ln., Globe. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed holidays. The phone number is 928-425-7470.
The Buckhead Mesa Landfill is between Payson and Pine at 1321 E. Buckhead Mesa Landfill Rd. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed holidays.
The phone number is 928-476-3350.
This article published in September 2019 Issue.
Award winning journalist with over 18 years experience in covering local news and issues affecting rural communities. Married 37 years, my life has taken me from Phoenix to Wilcox to Globe. My husband and I are both overjoyed to find ourselves in Globe-Miami, with its rich history and sense of community. This is truly home.