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City recycling changes eyed

OBSERVER Photos by M.J. Stafford The entrance to the Dunkirk Recycling Center is pictured.

Dunkirk officials are considering changes at the city recycling center and discussed them this month at a Department of Public Works Committee meeting.

“We want to make a master plan out there,” DPW Director Randy Woodbury said of the Lucas Avenue compound. “We want to refurbish the entire area and add a couple acres from the brownfield to the west.”

Woodbury mentioned painting the main recycling building, erecting a new salt shed, removing underground items and installing gates.

Councilwoman Nancy Nichols suggested an immediate change: moving a bin for cardboard to the front of the recycling building so seniors could get to it more easily. She said space at the building was not being used in the most efficient manner.

In addition, she advocated a one-day auction of the various scrap on site, which includes a junked police car visible from Lucas Avenue.

Woodbury also floated the idea of going to a sorted recycling system. The city currently sends its recyclables to the county landfill using a zero-sort system.

The public works director said he would talk to the landfill’s new chief operator, Aaron Gustafson, about the logistics of such a change.

“We have a new guy, we can see if we can work together,” Woodbury said, adding a bit later, “We ought to talk to Aaron and see what the future of recycling will be.” He vouched for the knowledge and attitude of Gustafson, stating he seems amenable to shared services.

There were concerns expressed at Monday’s meeting that sorting recyclables before they are sent to the landfill would drain manpower and time, and force more usage of DPW trucks, because loads would have to be separated.

“Zero-sort was big 15 years ago. It’s not a panacea,” Woodbury said. He added that the city would bring in more revenue with sorted recycling.

Nichols warned him to move slowly, as people might have problems handling speedy changes. Woodbury said, “We want to examine all the options and see what the most efficient is now, six months from now, six years from now.”

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